🌐 Cannes Conference to Shine Spotlight on the Entire Arabic-Speaking Region of MENA

Neom Media Industries, Arab Cinema Center and the Marché du Film’s Cannes Next program are coming together to present “MENA 360”, an invite-only event that will take place on 19 May at the new Plage des Palmes. 

Executives and talents from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will gather with their international counterparts at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to present “MENA 360: Accessing the Largest Untapped Market in the World.” This unprecedented conference, presented and hosted by NEOM Media Industries, Arab Cinema Center and the Marché du Film’s Cannes Next program, is designed to help the global storytelling community navigate and unlock the Arab world’s soaring potential.

The two-hour executive conference and reception will take place on 19 May at the Plage des Palmes – the all-new beachside venue shared by the Festival de Cannes and Marché du Film – and will discuss the best ways to secure financing, partners, locations and talent for the benefit of international filmmakers, producers and companies.

The event will also bring together executives and talents with deep experience across the entire MENA region to deliver a holistic overview of this marketplace of more than 500 million voracious entertainment consumers, nearly half of them under the age of 24.

Colin Brown from the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) will serve as Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the 3-session panel, which will feature an impressive lineup key industry players and speakers including:

  • Wayne Borg, NEOM, Managing Director, Media Industries, Entertainment and Culture
  • Rula Nasser, The Imaginarium Films, Jordan | Inchalla A Boy, Rebel, The Alleys, Holy Spider
  • Alaa Fadan, CEO and Chairman of Telfaz11, Saudi Arabia | Sattar, Alkhalatt
  • Michel Zana, Head of Dulac Productions and Distribution, France | The Dam, Gaza mon Amour, Feathers, Harka, Dancing Pina
  • Alaa Karkouti, CEO of MAD Solutions, Egypt-UAE-Portugal-USA | Good Bye Julia, Inchalla A Boy, The Burdened, The Alleys, Under the Fig Trees
  • Afnan Serajj, ART, Head of Co-Production and Digital Content, Saudi Arabia |
    Olfat’s Daughters, Capernaum
  • Rasha Al Emam, Founder and CEO of Yellow Camel, Saudi Arabia | Desert Warrior, Rise of the Witches
  • Mohannad Al Bakri, Managing Director of Royal Film Commission, Jordan
  • Amjad Abu Alala, Director and Producer, Sudan | You Will Die at Twenty, Good Bye Julia
  • Ahmed Hafez, Editor, Egypt | Inchalla A Boy, Marvel’s Moon Knight, Clash, Amira
  • Marco Orsini, Founder of IEFTA
  • Eric Hedayat, Producer, USA | Desert Warrior, The Great Wall, Real Steel, Extraction
  • Zeinab Abu Alsamh, General Manager of MBC Studios, Saudi ArabiaPanel moderators will include Nick Vivarelli of Variety, Melanie Goodfellow of Deadline Hollywood and Michael Rosser of Screen International, journalists with extensive industry knowledge of the MENA

The conference will be structured into three panel sessions:

The entertainment industry in the MENA region is a multi-billion-dollar business, largely driven by Saudi Arabia’s emergence as a media powerhouse, the increasing demand for content in a region with a young demographic of 500 million people, and the global interest in Arabic stories and characters. Given the rapidly changing market dynamics, this session will explore the best strategies for tapping into the Arab world as a partner for financing, producing, and distributing content.

This moderated conversation will explore the practicalities of shooting in the exciting new destination of Saudi Arabia and address many pertinent topics, including infrastructure, crew capacity, equipment, technology, visas, budgeting, securing local production service companies and the 40%+ rebate.

From Morocco to Sudan, from the Middle East to the Arabian Peninsula, the MENA region is blessed with jaw-dropping landscapes, state-of-the-art production facilities, and a local talent pool on both sides of the camera whose international potential is only now being realized. This session will showcase some of these natural wonders and gifted individuals and provide tips on how to access this storytelling wealth for global productions of all budget levels.

“The Marché du Film is the most international film market in the world, and we are very happy to present the best opportunities for film professionals,” says Guillaume Esmiol, Executive Director of the Marché du Film. “Arab Cinema Center and NEOM Media Industries will present MENA 360, a unique opportunity for the global film industry to explore the untapped potential of the Arab world’s entertainment market, connect with the region’s talented filmmakers and producers, and celebrate their industry at our 2023 edition.

RSVP is required for this invite-only event summit.