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The Waiting Bench Film Projectby Suhaib Gasmelbari Wins MAD Solutions Award at the Final Cut in Venice

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The Waiting Bench Film Projectby Suhaib Gasmelbari Wins MAD Solutions Award at the Final Cut in Venice

The Waiting Bench documentary film project by Sudanese director Suhaib Gasmelbari won the MAD Solutions Award at the 6th Final Cut in Venice workshop, held on the margins of the 75th Venice International Film Festival. The award offers marketing and distribution services across the Arab world to the winning film project.

The film project also won a monetary award of $5,000 offered by the El Gouna Film Festival and an invitation to participate in the festival's industry platform CineGouna in its upcoming edition in September 2018.

The Waiting Bench tells the story offour Sudanese filmmakers, who have been close friends since more than 45 years, trying to inspire the love of cinema in a wounded country. One of their last heroic acts is to resuscitate a cinema theatre in Khartoum.The project is co-produced by Goi Goi Productions and Agat Films & Cie.

This marks MAD Solutions' fourth consecutive year to present its award at the Final Cut in Venice. At the 5th Final Cut in Venice, Joint Possession feature film project by Moroccan director Leila Kilani won the MAD Solutions award, and before that the award went to the documentary film Obscure by Syrian director Soudade Kaadan. In 2015, the same award was given to the documentary film Separation by Iraqi director Hakar Abdel Kader.

The award offered by MAD Solutions comes as part of the company's strategy to support the Arab film industry through its different production stages internationally and regionally and to promote them on the long run. The company previously offered similar awards at the Open Doors initiative held as part of the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, the MAFF Market Forum (MMF) of the Malmö Arab Film Festival in Sweden, the Days of Cinema in Palestine, and the Festival National du Film Professional Meetings in Tangier, Morocco.

The 6th Final Cut in Venice workshop supports films in the post-production stage from Africa, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. The film selections are screened to an audience of producers, distributors and programmers of international film festivals. The workshop concludes with an award ceremony to honor the winning films that will be supported through the post-production phase.

The Final Cut in Venice aims to develop the role of the Venice International Film Festival to become a bridge that supports independent filmmaking in these countries by providing effective production support and promoting the films on the international market level.

Organized by MAD Solutions in 2015, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is an international promotional platform for Arab cinema as it provides the filmmaking industry with a professional window to connect with their counterparts from all over the world through a number of events that it organizes. The ACC also provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution, among others. The ACC's activities vary between film market main wings, introduction and networking sessions for Arab and foreign filmmakers, welcome parties, as well as meetings with international organizations and festivals, and the issuance of the Arab Cinema Magazine to be distributed at leading international film festivals and markets.

Furthermore, newsletter subscription is now available on the ACC's website, allowing users to obtain digital copies of the Arab Cinema Magazine, as well as news on the ACC's activities, notifications of application dates for grants, festivals and offers from educational and training institutions, updates on Arab films participating at festivals, exclusive news on the Arab Cinema LAB, and highlights from the ACC's partners and their future projects.
The ACC also launched an English-language Arab Cinema Guide, available on its website, which is a comprehensive cinematic guide that comprises a variety of tools presented collectively for the first time to offer information on Arab cinema to filmmakers inside and outside of the Arab world. It also aims to facilitate filmmakers' access to international markets and help film industry representatives to easily identify Arab film productions.

The Arab Cinema Center launched the MAD 3ARABI (Arab Flow) in Prague, Czech Republic. The festival aims to introduce the Arab culture and focus on the film and TV industry, flowing Arab entertainment and culture onto European shores, and also providing an extension for Arab filmmakers and content creators in the entertainment industry to reach new shores.