Egypt's producer Mohamed Hefzy selected board member of UAE's first Arab Film Institute

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Dec 2016

Launched during the 13th Dubai International Film Festival, the institute aims to further support the art, technique and commerce of the regional film industry

Arab Film Institute launch at DIFF (Photo: courtesy of DIFF)

Egyptian producer and scriptwriter Mohamed Hefzy has been selected as one of the board members of the first Arab Film Institute (AFI), which launched during the 13th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

Hefzy is one of the Arab world’s most respected scriptwriters and producers. His film production company, Film Clinic, which he founded in 2006, has thus far produced 10 feature films in Egypt, the UK and the US, including the commercial comedy 'Samir Wi Shahir Wi Bahir,' and multiple-award winning films 'Microphone' and 'Asmaa.'

Based in Dubai, the AFI is the first of its kind in the UAE, and aims to promote regional films, celebrate filmmakers and provide a platform for discourse over Arab films of the past, present and future.

“Being a witness and active member of the bright and rich Arab film scene, I felt we needed to bring together all this energy and exchange experiences and ideas as well as offer wider opportunities to our film community [especially] in a fast-changing world,” Paul Baboudjian, executive director and producer at AFI, said at DIFF.

“The AFI will be a unique meeting point between the art, technique and commerce involved in a prosperous film industry through learning, advocacy and networking,” a DIFF press release states.

Some of AFI’s focus will be on the distribution and promotion of Arab films and on developing networks and cooperation with international organisations to support regional films. 

One of the biggest initiatives AFI inaugurated with its launch is the new Arab Film Awards (AFA), with the first award ceremony to be held in March 2018.

The awards are to include Best Film, Best Director, Best Producer, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenwriter, Best Director of Photography, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Lifetime Achievement Award, and more.

Hefzy is one of 11 AFI board members, with other members being Lebanese film expert Antoine Khalife, director of the Arab Film Programme at DIFF, as well as Palestiniean filmmaker and producer Rashid Masharawi, Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha, and Moroccan filmmaker and producer Nabil Ayouch,among others.

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