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FEATURE


glued to their TV and computer screens for the latest developments as the country prepares for elections in November. There might not be much to watch other


than the headlines and political analysis in any case — even this coming August, when the start of Ramadan would normally prompt a ratings bonanza. The Islamic holy month devoted to daylight fasting and religious contemplation is typically the most lucrative season in the Arab television calendar. For those 30 days, Muslim families across the world eat only after dusk and then gather round their television screens to feast on a primetime schedule of period soaps, biographical dramas and entertainment spe- cials. This is Christmas, the Super Bowl and television ‘sweeps’ month all rolled into one as both local ratings and advertising rates go through the roof. Only this time around, there will be a pro-


gramming vacuum. Because most TV produc- ers had come to rely on the state networks for co-fi nance — and the occasional infl ated licence fee in a business beset with corruption — that revenue stream has run dry. Chat shows, how- ever, are sure to be a major draw, assuming audiences are not suffering from Jasmine Revo- lution fatigue. Karkouti, who is also one of the region’s leading media journalists, is hopeful that an entirely new entertainment industry will emerge from the ashes of the old. “There will be huge chances for new companies and youth. Quite simply, Egyptians and Tunisians did the impossible. So people there now have unbeliev- able power and energy to do what they want.” The question is whether the investment will


also be there to underwrite this new chapter once the banks re-open, local stock exchanges recover and foreign investors regain their confi - dence. The loss of those autocrats has also meant a loss of stability — conditions which tend to spook business. Nouriel Roubini, the New York economist nicknamed Dr Doom after predicting both the global housing and fi nan- cial collapse, anticipates similarly poor pros- pects for economies in the Arab world, at least in the short term. “We shouldn’t kid ourselves that it will be


easy,” he told Dubai’s Middle East Investment Summit in March. “In this environment, it’s very hard to make long-term investments unless you know the region well.” Roubini compares the rebuilding period to


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Go With Peace Jamil: director Omar Shargawi was caught up in Egypt’s security crackdown


‘Egyptians and Tunisians did the impossible. The people now have unbelievable energy to do


what they want’ Alaa Karkouti, MAD Solutions


Introducing our new production and finance database at http://screenbase.screendaily.com


the “decade” it took Eastern Europe to recover after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. From cinema’s perspective, that was a decade in which fi lm-making in that European region suf- fered massive cuts and struggled to find its international voice after being defi ned so long as one of socio-political subversion. It was only towards the end of the period that big-budget fi lms emerged out of Poland and Russia, that privatised studios started attracting epic shoots and that fi lms such as Kolya, Underground and Before The Rain gained international traction. These days, of course, Romanian fi lm-makers are winning top festival prizes and fi lms such as The Lives Of Others can talk of life under dicta- torships with bracingly fresh eyes.


Our new online, interactive database provides key production and financing information for the top five European territories, making it easier to find funding, key creative partners and much more. Use the insider knowledge at Screen Base to help get your next project off the ground.


Continually updated with only serious European projects, you have an interactive directory at your fingertips, saving you research time and money.


Film production stats on demand - search for projects in development, production or post production by status, genre, nationality and shooting year.


Revolutionary road Already a slew of Jasmine-scented projects is emerging from the aftermath of revolt. The fi rst to hit screens is likely to be Sarkhet Namla (liter- ally, ‘An Ant Screaming’), which cleverly worked in 10 minutes of clips from the real revolution into a storyline about economically marginal- ised Egyptians, and was shot last December. Marwan Hamed, the director of The Yacou- bian Building, is also producing an anthology


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Cairo 678: deals with the taboo subject of sexual harassment


of 10 shorts, each by different film-makers. And, perhaps understandably given his own desert ordeal, Shargawi has been working on a revolution documentary of his own. The real test is whether Egyptian cinema —


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which had already suffered a drop from 85 movies a year in the 1980s to 16 by the end of the 1990s — can reclaim its proud heritage beyond the coming wave of opportunistic fi lms. There is no clear picture right now, only a tantalising mezze of rumours, hope, excite- ment and tension. As MAD Solutions’ partner, Maher Diab, observes of the current mood: “It’s like having a cold and hot shower at the same time, all day.” 


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Introducing our new production and finance database at http://screenbase.screendaily.com


Our new online, interactive database provides key production and fi nancing information for the top fi ve European territories, making it easier to fi nd funding, key creative partners and much more. Use the insider knowledge at Screen Base to help get your next project off the ground.


Search by sales agent – find international sales agents for films produced or co-produced in the top five European territories: UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.


Continually updated with only serious European projects, you have an interactive directory at your fingertips, saving you research time and money.


Interactive distributor database – get your next project seen. Check out global distributors by region to help secure the right distribution deal for you!


Film production stats on demand - search for projects in development, production or post production by status, genre, nationality and shooting year.


Know the names behind the scenes – get to know who’s been involved in what. Make connections with the people behind the latest films, track their previous projects and who they’ve worked with.


Who’s making what? Search production companies by country to see what film projects they’re currently involved in.


Discover the film industry insight Screen Base holds. Visit http://screenbase.screendaily.com today. ■ 20 Screen International at the Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2011 Search by sales agent – find Interactive distributor database Know the names behind the Films at the festivals


Our new online, interactive database provides key production and financing information for the top five European territories, making it easier to find funding, key creative partners and much more. Use the insider knowledge at Screen Base to help get your next project off the ground.


Films at the festivals – extensive details for films showcased at the industry’s biggest festivals and markets. Find out who and what is behind the latest completed films.


Locate project funding – find finance ideas for your work from companies who have supported similar projects.


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