International Media Review
Dubai: 27 October 2019:
The MENA Cinema Forum, the region’s only Cinema Convention, concluded on Thursday the 24th of October with a big bang Awards Ceremony, recognizing the Cinema Industry leaders in the MENA region.
The red-carpet affair was attended by C-level executives from cinema chains, major studios, film distributors and their global partners. The awards, quantified by ComScore, the global leaders in media data, presented in partnership with Dubai Studio City, recognized the following movies and powerhouses behind them for the past year: VOX Cinemas was recognized as the highest grossing cinema operator in the MENA region. The award was received by Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment and his team. The highest grossing film distributor of the year award was won by Italia Film, who also bagged another award for Aladdin, the highest grossing Hollywood movie of the year in the MENA region. The awards were received by John Chahine, the Managing Director of Italia Film, the Distributors of Disney in the region. The award for highest grossing Arabic Film of the year was won by The Secret Men Club (Naadi Al Rajal Al Serri) and received by Front Row Entertainment and their partners Kuwait National Cinema Company. The award for highest grossing Indian Film was received by Lucifer and their distributor Gulf Film’s founding member and CEO, Ahmad Golchin. The 3 coveted People’s Choice Awards for the best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay were all won by Capernaum and received by distributor Empire Movies and the Film’s co-writer Jihad Hojeily.
The MENA Cinema Awards was the concluding Ceremony to MENA Cinema Forum, the region’s only Cinema Convention. The event took over 3-days and welcomed over 1000 cinema experts from around the globe including Global and Regional studios such as WBs, 20th Century Fox, Myrkotte Animation Studios and much more and their regional film distributors. All the major and independent cinemas from across the region were also present. The CEOs of cinemas in attendance included VOX Cinemas, Novo Cinemas, Reel Cinemas, Roxy, Carnival, StarzPlay, AMC Saudi Arabia, Cinepolis, Muvi, CineRoyal, Wow Cinemas, Cinema Akil, Zawya, and many more. Cinema and technology giants such as Dolby, Christie, Cinionic and 80 other exhibitors showcased their latest products and services. The event’s Industry Partner’s Managing Director, Majed Al Suwaidi from Dubai Studio City opened the exhibition on Day 1 of the show, welcoming the visitors to the biggest cinema exhibition on this side of the world.
The conference focused on major upcoming projects were the CEOs of major cinema chains announced their multi-million pipelines and urged for further partnership amongst all stakeholders, on its inaugural day. The second day of the conference was dedicated to technology and customer management, whilst the third day was focused on content, with heated panel discussions amongst experts on ways to increase regional production, quality of work and international distribution. Funding and government support were called for by many of the experts on that day. Experts from studios, government, universities and distribution companies were amongst the panelists on this day.
The event also premiered several regional, international and art movies at VOX Cinemas, the event’s Strategic Partner, and Reel Cinemas, the event’s cinema partner. The lineup of premieres included Terminator: The Dark Fate, Addams Family, Son-Mother and Leonardo: The Full Works. In addition to the premieres, 2020 products of Warner Bros. Picture International, Gulf Film, and Front Row Entertainment were showcased for cinema decision makers for their selection in 2020.
The event hosted 3 afterparties, where the who is who of industry attended to socialize and further business relations. Although the exact figures are not confirmed, millions of dollars of new business contracts were struck throughout the 3-day mega event.
MENA Cinema Forum will return in 2020 with even a bigger show, expanding on the conference, exhibition floor, the awards and film screenings. Having established itself as the must attend event for the cinema and entertainment industry, the event is now a global contender at the level of other big cinema conventions and a calendar event for all stakeholders from around the globe. The event dates, strategically placed in October, will be close to the opening of 2020 and all international participants have expressed their delight to return to the show and experience the Expo 2020 in Dubai.