Telescope Film currently has more than 450,000 titles within its database
Arab films are gaining more exposure outside the Arab world, thanks to international streaming giants such as Netflix expanding its library of Arabic content.
But that’s not the only way Arab films are reaching wider audiences. Other steps are being taken to support the industry, such as the Arab Cinema Centre’s recent partnership.
The Arab Cinema Centre, a platform by regional distribution company Mad Solutions, has partnered with Telescope Film to launch a microsite that acts as a guide of Arab films for audiences located in the US.
The site tells you where a specific film is available and on which platforms it’s streaming, and includes the synopsis, trailer and feedback from critics for each film . It covers several categories, including fiction, documentaries and shorts.
“The Arab world has produced some of the great masters of world cinema, as well as some of the most exciting directors working today. We believe their work should be better known in the US and want to help make that happen,” Justine Barda, founder and chief executive of Telescope Film, said in a statement.
“In order for us to get all this data and give it to Justine and her team to plug it into her website, has been manual labour because this information doesn’t exist,” Abdallah Al Shami, director of the Arab Cinema Centre, tells The National. “It’s been months and months of tireless work from our team.
“It’s critical for us to do this because we need to expand our reach in terms of the stories that are coming out of the Arab world,” he says, adding that the way people view foreign films has changed in recent times, which is paving the way for co-productions in the future.
This isn’t the first collaboration for Telescope Film, which currently has more than 450,000 titles within its database. It has also partnered with German Films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US.
The Arab Cinema Centre, which was set up by Mad Solutions in 2015, supports Arab cinema through a number of networking opportunities and activities including launching the Critics Awards for Arab Films at the Cannes Film Festival four years ago.