release date January 26 2015
Arab Cinema Center Kicks Off in Berlin International Film Festival
As part of one of the world's big-name cinematic hubs, Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), the 1st Arab Cinema Center (ACC) kicks off within the European Film Market (EFM), running from 5-15 February, 2015, at the festival's 65th edition. Part of its long-term strategy to back and promote Arab filmmaking industry in the Arab world, MAD Solutions is the organizer of this first Arab platform promoting Arab cinema industry at the heart of Berlinale.

The ACC will feature the participation of 11 Arab organizations and film production companies namely; Film Clinic (Egypt), The Imaginarium Films (Jordan), The Producers (Egypt), Screen Institute Beirut (SIB) (Lebanon), Middle West Films (Egypt), Emirati Cinema Campaign (the UAE), X-Rated (Egypt), Malmo Arab Film Festival (Sweden), Crystal Dog (Egypt), Arab Cinema in Sweden and MAD Solutions (Egypt and the UAE).

The ACC is going to function as an international platform to promote Arab cinema and a channel to provide access to Arab films. Through its diverse activities, it will disseminate information internationally concerning film production in the Arab world, creating an opportunity for Arab filmmakers to explore and network with the international film industry professionals, production companies' representatives, distribution slates and the organizations investing in co-productions.

Commenting on the event, Film Analyst Alaa Karkouti, CEO and Co-founder at MAD Solutions, stated, "The Arab Cinema Center at Berlinale this year is a major step that's been taken without relying on any types of external support. Hence, the center is supported only by the companies and organizations taking part in this event. Berlinale is also recognized as one of the main festivals with almost the largest number of Arab film screenings each year. And our plan for the first ACC is to open a regular Arab film market beyond any exceptions or rare endorsements."

On the ACC, Maher Diab, Creative Director and Co-founder at MAD also commented, "Under the umbrella of the Arab Cinema Center, MAD wants to present a different viewpoint of Arabic cinema to the world; one that is as visually captivating as its content. It's our own version of an artistic revolution in the Arab film and entertainment industry, which we hope will leave an imprint on future generations to come."

Abdallah Al Shami, MAD's Managing Partner for its GCC Bureau, reflected saying, "This is a very important initiative for MAD at such critical times. We want to show to the international community that the Arab Film and Entertainment industry is a fertile ground for creativity and productivity, and is a kaleidoscope of visionaries that do what they do for the love of cinema."

Colin Brown, Managing Partner and Director of International Operations at MAD Solutions, also clarified, "The Arab Cinema Center at the Berlinale is the culmination of MAD's pioneering work these five years promoting Arab films, filmmakers and filmmaking companies. We have helped open international eyes to the wealth of Arab talent, positioning this creative hotbed as a dynamic and highly varied storytelling culture that is not just defined by current news events. With this umbrella presence at the European Film Market - one of the key business crossroads in the annual film calendar - we want to project a progressive image of pan-Arab co-operation and openness. European cinema can be seen as a simultaneous testament to hyper-local diversity, regional strength and international partnership across the globe. We would love to see that collective spirit extend across the Arab-speaking cinema world as well."

Independent Consultant Jane Williams, former Director of the DIFF's Film Connection and the ACC's Consultant at Berlinale, also added, "I am very pleased to be involved in this much needed new international platform to promote Arab Cinema at the European Film Market. Drawing together leading companies from the Arab world and filmmakers featured in the festival's programme, the Berlinale Talents platform and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Arab Cinema Center provides an opportunity for film professionals from around the world to meet, network and discover the diversity of Arab cinema. With the support of the European Film Market, we hope to make the Arab Cinema Center the home for Arab filmmakers at the festival."

The ACC's activities will vary between hosting film screenings within the Arab film market, organizing networking sessions and meetings with international film companies and organizations throughout the days of Berlinale and publishing the Arab Cinema Guide to be distributed among the festival's guests.

The Arab Cinema Center is running within the 65th Berlin International Film Festival (5-15 February, 2015), which is regarded as an exciting, cosmopolitan cultural hub as it annually attracts 20,000 film professionals and media figures from all over the world. It is one of the biggest cinema platforms with more than 300,000 sold tickets from 400 films, taking part in each edition. In 2014, Berlinale attracted nearly 490,000 cinephiles and its EFM (5-13 February) is considered one of the most 3 important film markets in the world.