9th December 2011 marked the day three of the eight edition of the Dubai International Film Festival. Kicking off with a panel discussion on ‘How to - Film Finance’ moderated by Colin Stanfield, consultant at the Dubai Film Market, the panel consisted of prestigious members from varied parts of the world.
The panellists were Nibal Arakji, producer in Lebanon; Thanassis Karathanos, producer in Germany and Ryan Harrington representing the Tribeca Film Institute.
The session had interesting industry insights on funding commercial as well as documentary films. Ryan Harrington represented an institute that backs funding, for him the criteria’s are “story, originality, access and passion; passion comes from the film maker.”
The discussion introduced the new concept of ‘soft money’ for many budding producers. It is the kind of money that is given with no expectation of return. Producers are trying hard to get attain soft money or the continuum of soft money (money that will be recouped eventually).
Combination of German and Lebanese film makers gave the discussion a distinct edge. Nibal Arakji spoke about her movie ’39 Seconds’ that is currently in post production stage, she specifically mentioned Anjaz that sponsored $40,000 for her movie in post production stage.
Thanassis Karathanos commented on the same but the in context of Germany and the West on a whole.
The market is rigid and difficult to penetrate, the most one can do is to understand the internal dynamics of funding in films. Therefore, the discussion was informative for budding as well as struggling producers. The industry experience of the panellists drew more and more questions from a segment of film makers present as audiences. The answers were but of course answered well.
By Heena Makhijani