Gulf Film Festival (GFF), the annual celebration of the best in cinema from the Gulf region, today announced the formation of the Gulf Film Market, a major industry initiative aimed at developing the local and regional film culture and creating more opportunities for Gulf filmmakers in training, development, production and distribution. The Gulf Film Market will draw some of the most prominent filmmakers in the region to mentor and network with emerging GCC film professionals. The Festival announced today that the mentors for this year’s Gulf Script Market, an intensive workshop for screenwriters, will include: Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasarallah, whose film ‘After the Battle’ was chosen for the 2012 Cannes Palme D’Or competition; and award-winning Emirati author and screenwriter Mohammed Hassan Ahmad, who wrote the 2011 UAE drama ‘Sea Shadow’. Throughout his career as a screenwriter, Mohammed has found much success, winning over 30 international awards at festivals around the world including New York, San Francisco, Rotterdam and closer to home at both DIFF and GFF. Shivani Pandya, Managing Director of the Gulf Film Festival, expanded on the motivation for the initiative: “There is a wealth of talented filmmakers in the Gulf Coorporation Council (GCC) countries, and a number of local innovative and compelling features have been made in recent years. These developments are very exciting, and the Gulf Film Market is designed to build on this progress. We will focus on supporting the local and regional film industry: connecting GCC talent with the top regional and international industry professionals in mentorships such as our Gulf Script Market initiative, facilititating or production partnerships, educating GCC talent on developing commercially-viable projects, financing the production of short films through Enjaaz Gulf Short and supporting GCC talent to move to feature films once they have built their skills with a shorts portfolio. This is currently the only such initiative for GCC filmmakers in the region, and we are looking forward to connecting with the regional industry this GFF.” She continued that the market is geared toward GCC nationals in the film business, including students, freelancers and filmmakers, as well as global and GCC-based film entities, businesses and professionals, including sales agents, production companies and investors. Samr Al Marzooqi, Manager of the Dubai Film Market, commented: “The primary goal of the Gulf Film Market is to help promote and reward creativity in the art of film from across the Gulf. We hope to achieve this by educating aspiring filmmakers about best-in-practice storytelling, the art of mastering film directing and in crucial producing methods, networking with industry professionals from the region and abroad as well as providing funding for new and existing projects. In the future, we hope that the Gulf Film Market will encourage international distributors to look to the GCC as the best platform to acquire and distribute the new wave of fresh and unique cinema.” The inaugural Gulf Film Market will run from the 14 to 17 April during the GFF’s sixth edition which commences on Thursday, April 11. Platforms under its banner will include the Gulf Forum, which comprises of ‘how-to’ sessions, discussion panels, and networking events in the mornings, as well workshops in the afternoons and the renowned “Gulf Nights” sessions from midnight till 2 am. Filmmakers will also be able to meet with film industry experts to seek help in specific areas in the film making process. The Gulf Script Market, which connects the region’s best scriptwriters with directors and producers, will also be brought under the Gulf Film Market’s remit for its second edition, acknowledging the importance of scripts and scriptwriters in the production process. The Gulf Film Market will host two funding initiatives for regional artists; Enjaaz, the post-production fund of the Dubai Film Market, will extend its reach to offer production funding through Enjaaz Gulf Short for short films for GCC filmmakers for the 2ndyear. Enjaaz Gulf Shorts supports up to 10 films a year with up to $50,000 per project for production. In addition, GFF will continue its partnership with the Robert Bosch Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds film projects in Germany, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. At the inaugural Gulf FilmMarket, filmmakers will be able to pitch their projects to the Foundation’s producers as part of their initiative to fund Arab shorts. GFF offers the very best in cinema from around the GCC region. For schedules, venues and ticket prices, please consult the Festival website on: www.gulffilmfest.com.