The fifth edition of the hugely successful META Cinema Forum was held between 25-29th October 2022 at the Atlantis the Palm Island, with renewed optimism following the opening of several large-format cinema screens a few months after the industry began operating at full capacity.
As many as 56 exhibition stands displayed the latest products, services, technology from a select group of industry suppliers, technology providers and industry stakeholders at the convention.
Over 500 delegates, visitors, buyers, sellers, and other industry stakeholders attended the event, which also addressed the shortage of feature films, documentary films, and other film genres in the region.
More than 44 industry officials and experts shared their perspectives on the current market situation, challenges, and solutions through speeches, presentations, training, and workshops etc.
Industry leaders and officials who attended the META Cinema Forum included Toby Tennant, Senior Vice-President for EMEA Theatrical Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures International; Tonis Kiis, Senior Vice President for International Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures; Paul Higginson, Executive Vice-President, EMEA of Universal Pictures International; Toni El Massih, Managing Director – Cinemas, VOX Cinemas; Andrew Such, CEO of AMC Cinemas; John Schreiner, Senior Vice President for Theatrical Development in EMEA, at IMAX Corporation and Zaur Darabadeh, Chairman of the Board of CinemaPlus, among other global leaders.
The forum witnessed powerful presentations from Saudi Arabia, Asia and Africa regions, the future of the large-format cinema halls as well as the prospects of the streaming services, technology disruptions and other subjects. Experts also addressed the demand-supply mismatch in film contents and theatre facilities across the Middle East and Africa.
Apart from the Middle East and African countries, cinema industry stakeholders from Turkey, Asia and CIS countries also joined the META Cinema Forum, making it a truly global cinema industry convention.
Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Mind Events Management –organizer of the META Cinema Forum, said: “META Cinema Forum has successfully repositioned the region’s cinema industry in the global map, so much so that large-scale investment has widened the theatre facilities across the region. The industry is currently gearing up to increase the supply of good quality contents and regional blockbusters that will pull more viewers to the cinema halls.”
“META Cinema Forum has now become a global industry convention for which international cinema industry suppliers, technology providers and other industry stakeholders prepare and launch their latest innovations. As a result, we can see a number of global cinema industry suppliers have lined up new products and services for the industry,” she added.
The two-day mega cinema industry conference was followed by a three-day META Film Fest, which kicked off with the screening of three short films from the UAE: Deadline, Children of All and IDI, and screened over 70 shortlisted full feature films, documentaries, and short films from Iran, Jordan, Sweden, Korea, Egypt. The main attraction of the festival was the gala premiere of Emily by director Frances O’Conner.
The film festival also attracted several international and regional celebrities including Cris Mejia, Nayla Al Khwaja, Emirati film director, Maria Bello, and Casey Shannon, Shalila Samavati, Pegah Ahangarani and Neslihan Yeldan among many others.
Motivate Val Morgan was one of the media partners for the META Cinema Forum and a supporting partner for Meta Film Fest 2022.
Source: META Cinema Forum Press Release
META Cinema Forum brings cinema stakeholders from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, CIS countries and Turkey to address the demand of theatre facilities and shortage of film contents in certain markets while the overall industry shows strong growth in the MEA region.
The next edition of the META Cinema Forum will address the demand-supply mismatch in film contents and theatre facilities across the Middle East and Africa which will be held from October 25 to 26, 2022, at the Atlantis the Palm, Dubai.
Cinema industry stakeholders from Turkey, Asia and CIS countries will join the META Cinema Forum, making it a truly global cinema industry convention that has become one of the must-attend global cinema conventions.
More than 500 industry delegates, experts and participants will discuss and debate the opportunities and challenges faced by the industry stakeholders at the META Cinema Forum. More than 60 suppliers will display the latest products and services that boost the moviegoer experience. The two-day mega cinema industry conference will be followed by a three-day META Film Fest that will screen over 40 shortlisted full feature films, documentaries, and short films along with premieres of highly anticipated releases of 2022 at the VOX Cinemas at the Nakheel Mall.
“META Cinema Forum has become an international platform for the global cinema industry community to build partnerships and bridge the content gap, and to discuss ways to expand cinema chains into emerging markets,” Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Mind Events Management, said.
META Cinema Forum also complements the development of the creative economy whose contribution could make a significant impact in the Middle Eastern and African countries. It will boost the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy that aims to transform the emirate of Dubai into an international destination for creativity and the capital of the creative economy by 2025.
A recent report, The Future of the Creative Economy, by Deloitte, shows that the creative industry employed nearly 20 million people in nine countries.
“The nature of the creative economy will continue to change and specific businesses and sectors will thrive or decline. New sectors could emerge entirely. However, we can be optimistic that the creative economy as a whole is likely to grow over time,” Deloitte said in its research paper.
The Dubai Creative Economy Strategy aims to double the contribution of the creative industries to the GDP of Dubai from 2.6 per cent in 2020 to 5 per cent by 2025. It also seeks to more than double the number of Dubai-based creative companies from 8,300 in 2020 to 15,000 by 2025, and more than double the number of creators based in the emirate, from 70,000 in 2020 to 140,000 by 2025.
META Cinema Forum is the first and so far, the only cinema industry-focused convention in the Middle East and Africa region that has one of the fastest growing entertainment industries in the world where governments and the private sector are investing heavily in entertainment facilities to diversify economies and reduce dependency on a single economic sector.
The event brings all the stakeholders on a single platform to brainstorm on the growth of the industry and identify opportunities going forward. It will host seminars, awards, premieres of new movies, workshops, and masterclasses, and showcase new products and exclusive slate content presentations.
META Cinema Forum is backed by all the leading industry players. The event is supported by VOX Cinemas as the Strategic Cinema Partner, and the National Film Authority joining as Supporting Partner. Other leading industry partners include Universal Pictures International, Warner Bros. Entertainment, AMC Cinemas, Cinepolis Gulf, Maison SU, Cinemarine, CineBodrum, FilmHouse Cinemas, Golden Scene, Cinema Plus, Dolby, ME Cinemas, Starz Play, Cinepax and Empire Entertainment.
Motivate Val Morgan is a media partner for this year’s META Cinema Forum.
Source: META Cinema Forum
The META Film Fest will be a three-day event filled with star-studded premieres, celebrating Hollywood, Bollywood, Arab and African content.
The inaugural META Film Fest has been launched by META Cinema Forum – the pioneering cinema convention for Middle East and Africa, in partnership with VOX Cinemas – the largest cinema exhibitor in the region, and is set to bring the latest blockbusters as well as independent, regional, and local productions to movie lovers over a three-day jammed packed festival from 27-29 October, at VOX Cinemas Nakheel Mall in Dubai, UAE.
Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, The Great Minds Group (organizers of the META Cinema Forum) stated, “a selection committee will review all the submissions from around the global and the final 30-40 films will make it to the festival. Expect at least four to five blockbusters that will premiere with their stars walking the red carpet, after-parties with talents, and it will all culminate with an awards ceremony honouring the best in cinema.”
A film fund is another feature of this festival, where 2 pre-production content ideas submitted by regional talent, one full feature film idea and one documentary idea, will be chosen to be funded for production, and will be subsequently screened at the festival’s future editions and will be supported through marketing and worldwide distribution. This feature is dedicated to discovering Arab talent and contributing to production of world class Arabic content.
While the region was initially exposed to festivals such as Dubai International Film Festival and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the META Film Fest is billed as the first private-sector and industry stakeholder-led film festival in the Middle East and Africa.
“We are trying to engage as many audiences as we can at this festival … This is going to be a place for creative people to sit together, develop ideas, and produce great content too,” added Masinaei .
Due to the festival’s location, the event guarantees one of the most diversified audiences present at any festival, while boasting the legendary glitz and glamour of Dubai.
Sources: META Film Fest and Gulf News
The META Cinema Forum 2021 will be discussing how the MENA cinema industry has witnessed growth in the past year and is expected to be a billion-dollar market by 2024.
Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and health and safety protocols, the cinema industry in the MENA region has grown against the backdrop of a steep decline in the global cinema industry. Although the global Box Office is slowly making a comeback with pandemic-era record breaking opening weekends for F9 and Black Widow, the cinema box office revenues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are expected to grow by 4 percent to US$ 1 billion (Dh3.7 billion) by 2024, compared to a 2.4 percent decline worldwide, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a global auditing consultancy.
Research data analysed by finance website Finaria also showed that globally the combined revenues in the box office industry plummeted by 71.5 percent from $42.5 billion in 2019 to approximately $31 billion last year. Expansion throughout the Arab world and Middle East, specifically in Saudi Arabia, has unlocked a lucrative economic opportunity and Saudi Arabia has now become a major contributor to the growth of the global cinema industry.
The news comes as organisers, GM Events, released the dates for the fourth edition of the META Cinema Forum – the largest cinema convention in the Middle East and Africa – from October 26-28, 2021 at Atlantis the Palm, Dubai. It also follows shortly after Dubai government announced the lifting of restrictions on public entertainment events as part of a gradual opening up of the country’s borders to select countries that have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
META Cinema Forum 2021, which takes place amid the World Expo 2020 – one of the largest global events which is taking place for the first time in the Middle East – will host a conference, awards, seminars, workshops, masterclasses, special screenings, premieres, product presentations, slates, exhibitions and live demonstrations. The conference will tackle industry issues as well as regional industry-specific discussions on the film industry across Africa, Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.
“Back for its 4th edition, the META Cinema Forum, now expanding to cover markets across including Levant, Turkey and Indian subcontinent, is sure to be the hottest cinema event in year 2021.” Said Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Mind Events Management. “The event is unique in that it highlights the only region with an expanding cinema sector, with participants actively attending to source new design ideas, F&B concepts, technological innovation and alternative content.”
Ignace Lahoud, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment added “VOX Cinemas is proud to be the strategic partner of the META Cinema Forum once again, given our shared commitment to the cinematic experience. Now in its fourth year, the META Cinema Forum provides an important platform and inspires dialogues amongst leading players so that we can continuously innovate and enhance the cinema experience and industry. With the META region becoming an increasingly important market to the global box office, events such as this are essential to the continued success of the industry and, we look forward to this year’s event which boasts a stellar line-up.”
Cinemas in many markets are still closed and few countries have opened cinema halls while many have permanently closed as a result of being significantly financially impacted by Covid-19. However, unlike many other markets, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) box office was up 3 percent to US$115 million in 2020, the PwC report says. By 2030, one of the governing authorities to regulate and operate cinemas, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), expects there to be around 350 cinemas and 2,500 movie screens in the country, and the industry will be worth around US$1 billion.
META Cinema Forum, the largest industry convention, will focus on the challenges faced by the cinema industry, changing trends as well as focusing on the new cinema projects that will drive the growth of the industry.
The continued participation and support of the African continent, backed by Pan African Film Consortium, will bring the leading African film industry movers and shakers into the conversation.
Mykel Parish Ajaere, President, Pan-African Film Consortium, says, “In 2020, the corona virus heralded a new economy for the creative industry with the global film industry alone suffering a revenue loss of over ten billion U.S. dollars due to the impact of the virus outbreak around the world.”
“There must be a way to balance commercial returns and I believe that the META Cinema Forum 2021 will provide sustainable solutions to Middle East and African cinema, at this difficult time. As president of the Pan-African Film Consortium and as an influencer in the African film industry, I’m excited about our partnership with the META Cinema Forum 2021. This is the time for Africa to strengthen its film economy and harness the enormous benefits the forum will provide.”
META Cinema Forum 2021 is backed by all the leading industry players. The event is supported by Pan-African Film Consortium while VOX Cinemas is once again Strategic Partner. Other leading exhibitors including MUVI Cinemas, Cinépolis Gulf, Novo Cinema, Cinemarine, StarzPlay, FimHouse Cinemas, Cinepax, ROXY Cinemas, Carnival Cinemas, Empire Cinemas and Women in Exhibition have also come on board as Cinema and Event Partners.
Source: META Cinema Forum (Press Release)
Including META Cinema Forum Awards, Screenings and More
October 27, 2020 – Dubai, UAE. The third edition of META Cinema Forum kicked off today and is supported by the cinema giants in the region. Throughout the two days the conference will discuss all the latest projects and developments in the industry and the effect that COVID-19 has had on the cinema industry, projections, plans and the vision for recovery.
Taking place on 27 -28 October at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, the event will gather 28 of the industry’s leaders in cinema production, distribution, construction, and technology. For the first time ever, the event is taking place in a hybrid format, welcoming attendees to attend physically or virtually via video conferencing technology. The speakers and the panelists choose whether to participate in the physical form hosted at the VOX Cinemas, or on a digital platform, making the event accessible to all and a global first live hybrid event to be shown in a cinema.
Focusing on the current challenges the industry is facing, the content and format has been adjusted accordingly to cater to the needs of the industry and commenced with the welcome remarks from Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Event Management, organisers and Head of the META Cinema Forum team followed by the Forum’s Strategic Partner, VOX Cinemas, Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment.
At the welcome remarks, Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Event Management said: “We are thrilled to host the world’s first hybrid conference shown live on digital platform and at a cinema, with speakers participating in person or virtually, all blended together for a seamless hybrid experience like no other. We continue to commit to our promise to deliver the richest up-to-date cinema industry content for the Middle East and African markets, working with some of the most influential cinema experts in the world.”
Masinaei continues, “As always the Forum includes features such as slate content presentations, special screenings, an awards ceremony, a post-event reception as well as product showcases, but in the new hybrid format blending the virtual and physical together for a first time ever experience. We are excited to welcome many new delegates to this year’s edition, whom had not attended the pervious editions and is made possible thanks to having the option to attend virtually, this is a blessing of the new era I think we sometimes forget to mention.”
At the opening keynote from Event Strategic Partner: Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment, said ”The future of film depends on enhanced collaboration and, VOX Cinemas is proud to once again partner with the META Cinema Forum, which provides an important platform for key stakeholders and leading industry players to engage in open dialogue, share knowledge, challenges and ideas so that we can jointly as an industry navigate the unchartered waters of COVID-19 together and ensure the longevity of the cinema industry.”
He continued, “Cinema is one of the oldest cultural institutions, which has weathered numerous societal storms, wars and prospered through over a century of challenges. At VOX Cinemas, we remain fundamentally confident about the future and resilience of the industry and firmly believe that, if we continue to evolve in line with guest feedback and emerging trends, cinema will find a way, as it has throughout its history, to not just survive but thrive.”
Followed by insightful speech about cinema statistics and analysis during and post-pandemic era by Pablo Carrera, Principal Analyst- Cinema, Omdia. The data shared was exclusively research for META Cinema Forum and presented for the first time to a global audience.
Next on the agenda was a keynote panel discussion titled: Effect of COVID-19 on the cinema industry, projections, plans and vision for recovery and beyond where John Iozzi, CEO and Managing Director, AMC Cinemas – KSA, Maria Gedeon, Marketing Director, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas, Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Cinema Association and John Donnelly, Business Development Director, Dolby Laboratories discussed critical topics such as the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the cinema industry across the globe and in the META region, future of the cinema industry, market forecasts, operating cinemas within the “new normal”, profitability of cinemas at reduced capacity and most importantly, the road to recovery.
The Panel Discussion was followed up by a technical presentation from Dolby.
The second panel of the day, addressed the most critical subject in the theatrical industry, content. As the global news outlets have reported, cinemas are shutting down around the world due to lack of content and continued delays in blockbuster releases from the studios. The META region has a unique advantage by having access to a diverse range of content to cater to their population rich in diversity, and if nurtured, would not only survive the pandemic, but lead the way in the global cinema recovery by pioneering diversified content sources for the cinemas.
Experts offered their perspective on the subject from their unique positions in academia, production, distribution, event cinema, and cinema exhibition, the panel discussion was joined by Toni El Massih, Chief Content Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, Joel Haikali, Director/Producer at Joe Vision Production, Chairperson of Namibia Film Commission Board, Co-founder of the Creative Industry Guide Africa, Rony Mitri, Independent Distribution Advisor, Melissa Cogavin, Consultant, Melissa Cogavin Ltd, Dr. Fazal Malik, Dean Humanities, Arts and Applied Sciences, Amity University Dubai, Grainne Peat, Managing Director, Event Cinema Association and Serge Zabbal, Business Director, Empire Entertainment.
The final panel discussion of the day was dedicated to the latest in cinema technology and unique products that are being developed with the cinema recovery around the world.
Showreels of upcoming features from various studios were shown throughout the day, and day one was wrapped up by a special film screening of a film that was shot in Dubai, Twisted Blues and this is the first time the film has been played on the big screen.
Day two of the forum is jam-packed with live sessions hosted at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, slate content presentations, an awards ceremony and post-event reception.
The forum has attracted the biggest cinema operators in the region to be its partners in success. VOX Cinemas is the forum’s strategic partner whilst Novo, AMC KSA, Cinepolis, Cinepax and FilmOne are the forum’s Cinema Partners. The list of production and distribution partners for the 2020 edition includes Empire Entertainment, Sony, SPRI, and FilmOne.
Source: META Cinema Forum (Press Release)
Now in its 3rd edition, META Cinema Forum, the largest cinema convention covering the Middle East and African Markets, will take place from October 27 – 28, 2020.
After signing an agreement with the Pan African Film Consortium, the MENA Cinema Forum was re-branded as META Cinema Forum, inclusive of Middle East and the entire African continent.
For the 2020 edition, in consideration of the ongoing challenges around the global pandemic, the META Cinema Forum will be conducted as a hybrid event, first of its kinds in the world.
The event includes an invaluable conference covering all key critical topics of the cinema sector, from projects and plans to technology and content. The conference has traditionally been accompanied by the biggest cinema convention in the region, to offer the latest in supplies and technologies to the stakeholders. Special screenings, premieres, slate presentations, workshops, awards, and post event receptions have accompanied the conference and trade show to make it a comprehensive cinema convention for the region.
“The cinema industry has been amongst the most impacted sectors by the pandemic, but if the $54 million USD BOX Office sales of Tenet, the first blockbuster release since the pandemic, in its opening week at select international markets has proven anything, it’s that moviegoing is a habit we do not wish to kick, and that passion for movies and cinema as a form of accessible entertainment is here to stay. Therefore, in close coordination with the major global stakeholders, we came up with a true hybrid event, the first of its kind in the world, to facilitate collaborations that are required to help with the recovery. The event will highlight the plan for projects in the region, the recovery phase for the cinema industry, and content diversification as key critical elements. We are very delighted to work with VOX Cinemas once more as our Strategic Partners, and to be able to stream live digital content at VOX for local audience to enjoy, not to mention, to be the first in the world in 2020 to showcase upcoming movies from various studios and their new release dates,” says Leila Masinaei, Conference Director and Managing Partner, Great Minds Event Management.
The 2020 edition will include a knowledge packed conference, select slate presentations of upcoming content and films from leading Hollywood and international studios, including Africa for the first time, at VOX Cinemas, Mall of Emirates in Dubai, a live META Cinema Projects Insight session with the most senior cinema leaders in the region and rounded off with a networking after event reception. Cinema innovations and advanced technologies will also be displayed as a product showcase floor at the event.
For those who don’t wish to attend physically, don’t panic, all conference content will be available live via video conferencing technology and will be free of charge for all to attend this year.
Source: META Cinema Forum