Film Independent’s LA Film Festival Showcases Global Media Makers Summit At Cairo International Film Festival

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Film Independent announced the fourteen filmmakers selected from the Middle East, Northern Africa and Turkey to participate in the third annual Global Media Makers, an international film exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Global Media Makers is an innovative mentoring initiative that connects visual storytellers from around the world with leading U.S. entertainment professionals through specially tailored mentorships, workshops and master classes. The upcoming LA Film Festival will include a special sidebar featuring films from Fellows who participated in the first two years of the program. Later in the fall, Global Media Makers will hold a Summit at the Cairo International Film Festival.

LA Film Festival 2018 Announces New Initiatives to Reach LA Audiences, Creators, Artists

"With this new group of 14 talented filmmakers, Global Media Makers will now have supported the careers and helped develop the projects of 50 filmmakers from the Middle East, Northern Africa and Turkey throughout the three years of the program," said Maria Bozzi, Senior Director of Education and International Initiatives, Film Independent. "We are thrilled to be able to share some of those projects with Los Angeles audiences this year at the Festival."

"Visual storytelling allows us to explore important issues and build empathy and understanding. This speaks to the heart of ECA's mission, which is to connect people from other countries with the people of the United States," said Catherine Collins, Global Media Makers Program Manager at ECA. "We're honored to support this talented and diverse group of international filmmakers to further their stories and to create lasting connections with U.S. filmmakers."

Past program mentors include Len Amato, President HBO Films, Effie Brown (Dear White People), Kirby Dick (The Invisible War), Karin Chien (Circumstance), Jay Duplass (Jeff Who Lives at Home), Rodrigo García (Last Days in the Dessert), Matthew Greenfield,President of Production for Film and Television at Fox Searchlight, Laura Kim, Senior VP Marketing at Participant Media, Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), Alix Madigan-Yorkin, (Winter's Bone), Stephen Mirrione (editor, The Revenant), Jeremy Podeswa (Game of Thrones), James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour),  Alan Poul (The Newsroom), Jeff Stockwell (The Dangerous Life of Altar Boys), Mary Sweeney (The Straight Story, Mulholland  Drive), Paula Manzanedo-Schmit, Senior VP Film Finances, Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Kelly Thomas (Spa Night), Nancy Utley, President, Fox Searchlight, and Ron Yerxa (Nebraska).

In November of this year, Global Media Makers will hold a summit in partnership with the Cairo International Film Festival. The summit marks the third year of the program with a gathering of Fellows, U.S. Mentors, key partners and stakeholders in the region to discuss relevant programmatic initiatives that strengthen civil society and continue to forge strategic partnerships. Additionally, the U.S. Mentors will participate in Cairo Industry Days through panels, master classes and individual meetings.

Now in its third year, Global Media Makers has expanded to include nine countries. This year's 14 film, television and new media makers (Fellows) represent leading talent from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and their work explores important contemporary social issues such as freedom of expression, human rights, tolerance and women's empowerment.

In September, at the start of the LA Film Festival, they will travel to Los Angeles for a six-week residency where they will engage with American mentors who will provide state-of-the-art training and industry access to support the conceptual development of their projects.

The ultimate goal is to generate independent, authentic and compelling content for distribution in their home countries and promote creative cross-pollination between these international filmmakers with a team of American mentors and industry professionals.

During the course of the last three years,180 U.S. Mentors from the entertainment industry have served the program through various workshops and individual meetings, as well as travelling to the region to present international workshops that have impacted over 500 participants across the Middle East. Of the 50 Global Media Makers Fellows selected to participate in the program since its launch, seven projects have been produced, including Amr Salama'sSheik Jackson which was Egypt's official submission for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

2018 LA Film Festival Complete Film Offerings With Synopsis


Film Independent is the nonprofit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent's Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the LA Film Festival and year-round, weekly programs that offer unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent's Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year- round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent's signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

ABOUT the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Visit

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