Muscat – In a move to position Oman on the global stage, the Muscat International Film Festival (MIFF) is set to introduce a groundbreaking initiative ‘Arabwood’ – a portmanteau reference to Hollywood, which largely influenced world cinema in the recent era.
The venture, developed in collaboration with the French Embassy in Oman and Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth, outlines a five-year strategy to establish Oman as a hub for film production and creativity.
The official unveiling of Arabwood will take place during the 11th edition of MIFF to be held from March 3-7, heralding a transformative phase for the Arab film industry.
Sudha Sha, international coordinator and marketing head of MIFF 2024, detailed the ambitions behind Arabwood, highlighting MIFF’s role as a catalyst in the initiative.
“Arabwood envisions co-productions and partnerships within the Arab film industry, aiming to spotlight Oman’s cinematic potential on an international scale. The initiative will kickstart a comprehensive exploration of the Arab film market’s possibilities, addressing technical challenges, funding opportunities, and co-production prospects.”
Designed to replicate the success of well-established industries like Hollywood and Bollywood, Arabwood is to establish global partnerships, notably with French representatives discussing funding and co-production pathways.
A significant step includes the promotion and pitching of selected projects at the Cannes 2024 festival, where French experts will assist Omani teams in reaching international audiences.
Sudha added that Arabwood aims to empower Omani filmmakers by providing a platform for showcasing their work, participating in global collaborations, and advancing Oman’s film industry.
“The initiative welcomes Omani nationals and residents, encompassing writers, directors and producers. The selection process will focus on identifying promising projects across feature films, short films and documentaries.”
For filmmakers aspiring to join Arabwood, submissions must be detailed in English, including a synopsis, crew suggestions, budget and marketing plans.
With March approaching, MIFF is gearing up for its commencement, promising an array of special screenings. Highlights include the best film from the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, The Anatomy of a Fall, the Green Oscar-winning documentary The 18th Elephant and Raastha – the first foreign film shot entirely in Oman.