Dubai Talent: Afia Nathaniel
Debut director on Dukhtar and cinema in Pakistan
Dubai Talent: Asha Bhosle
Indian playback singer on seven decades of film music
Dubai opens with Theory of Everything
Festival makes regional cinema its key focus
Dubai IFF cancels AsiaAfrica competition
Festival enters second decade without key focus
Dubai festival fixes 2014 dates
Surveys demonstrate overwhelming attendee satisfaction
Thuy and South Korea's relationship to SE Asia
Dubai: Kim Jae-han and Ninh Dương Lan Ngọc
Shivani Pandya on Dubai's next ten years
Managing director reflects on DIFF's first decade
Lee Sang-il on the limits of Japanese cinema
Unforgiven director on Japan's new conservatism
Ilo Ilo wins Best Film in Dubai
Golden Horse winners repeat success in UAE
Ritesh Batra on preparing his Lunchbox
The role of shorts, project markets and place
Tsai Ming-liang on being a stray in Taiwan
He only wants money, freedom and Lee Kang-sheng
Japanese documentaries after Fukushima
Cool Japan, state secrets and misplaced festivals
Farooki on fibbing, fantasy and box office
Bangladeshi film-maker presents Ant Story in Dubai
Ant Story premieres in AsiaAfrica competition
Ilo Ilo, Stray Dogs, Lunchbox compete in Dubai
Dubai announces first Asian titles
Commercial films from China, Philippines, Japan
Dubai to host Cinematic Innovation Summit
Annual event to focus on technical innovation in media
Staying independent in the Philippines
Dubai Talent: Mendoza on indie film-making and his upcoming genre film
The future of Japanese cinema
Dubai Talent: Japanese producers on Miike, Sono and the next generation
Miike on process, violence and Tarantino
Japanese director gives Lessons of the Evil in Dubai
Dubai foregrounds Asian directors
Films from Lee, Blair and Feng take key slots
South Asian indies to compete in Dubai
Films from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India join AsiaAfrica competition
Dubai announces first AsiaAfrica titles
Documentary on North Korean cinema to compete
Dubai fest plans innovation summit
Conference focus on story, tech transfer
Eurimages envisages Mid East expansion
Dubai meeting to encourage finance body
Tatsumi and Woodsman share AsiaAfrica prizes
Japanese documentaries also recognised in Dubai
The business of Japanese documentaries
Dubai talent focus: Ide Yoko and Sunada Mami
Dubai dishes out distribution dollars
Festival adds market support measures
Women on top at DFC awards
Dubai project market provides cash and kudos
The battle after Seediq Bale
Dubai talent focus: Wei Te-sheng Q&A
Rahman celebrated in Dubai
Lifetime achievement award for world cinema composer
Dubai opens under Cruise control
Strong lineup of Indian cinema and Bollywood stars
Seven up for Dubai sidebar
AsiaAfrica section includes Oscar hopefuls
Dubai makes speedy Connection
By Patrick Frater
Mon, 12 December 2011, 17:08 PM (HKT)
Five years after its establishment, the Dubai Film Connection is able to point to structural improvements in Arab film-making says its director Jane WILLIAMS.
And she contends that the results have more to do with structure, organisation of ideas and international exposure than simple cash.
The DFC operates in a fashion somewhere between a festival project market and a regional funding body, inviting feature and documentary makers to submit projects that may be presented during the Dubai International Film Festival's market. These are carefully scrutinised, with roughly one in nine making it as far as the Dubai Film Market.
There they are not only presented to potential financiers and co-producers over a three day period, but receive mentoring and can earn a range of prizes that are intended for further development or pre-production.
Williams says that of the 64 projects selected in the DFC's first four years, 19 have been completed and a further 12 are now in production or post-production. That is a high conversion rate and is matched by an average turn around period of two years.
"We are not a fund. How people use the money is their call," says Williams and cites the example of an ingenious documentarian who used the development cash for production and returned to the festival the following year with a completed film.
"What is happening is that there is an evolution. Quality is increasing. People are learning that putting their ideas in an organised fashion can lead them to get funding. In that respect we are a gateway," she says. "An important factor [helping to raise quality] is that projects must be submitted with a producer attached. And people are understanding that being a producer is a profession."
While Williams says that some of the growing film-making confidence in the region comes from the availability of money from the trio of well-funded festivals – Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi – she suggests that improvements have more to do with structure and scrutiny than the quantity of cash.
ImageNation and the Abu Dhabi festival's film fund operated on too large a scale, she argues, and a significant proportion of the finance flowed straight out to Hollywood. "Some of the people were not interested or knowledgeable in local cinema. But that changed when it scaled down and focused on local cinema.
"People from developed industries elsewhere are incredibly critical of this region. But [Emirati cinema] is new. Mistakes must be made. That's why the DFC was set up. And we said it would not take a lot of money to turn around."
"We don't fully fund projects. What we do is find out if there is regional or international interest in a project. If you fully finance there is no test."