The Dubai International Film Festival’s Dubai Filmmart has announced that 3,193 screenings took place through its popular Cinetech trading platform, and at least two major deals were concluded during the week-long event (Dec 12-19).

The deals included the sale of Middle East rights to  Ricky Tognazzi’s The Father And The Foreigner, starring Nadine Labaki, to Front Row Films. In addition, Shoreline sold Middle East rights to a slate of 11 films to Phoenicia Pictures International. The package includes A Fork In The Road, which is the directing debut of Jim Kouf who wrote National Treasure.

But the biggest hit of the market was undoubtedly the Cinetech platform itself, a digital library for buyers and sellers which offered screenings of 224 films.

In a quiet room to one side of the meeting lounges, 30 computers had been installed with large flat-screen monitors and touch-screen technology. Buyers could watch the films on-demand, rate them and directly contact the sales companies involved. Sellers received feedback on the ratings and who had watched their films.

The films in the library included 23 world premieres, six international premieres, 37 Middle East premieres and 21 GCC premieres. Each film also had a list of territories already sold.

The market also organised more than 40 face-to-face meetings between buyers and sellers and 61 meetings with a team of international consultants who gave advice on funding, co-production, distribution and sales.

Filmmart ran concurrently with the Dubai Film Connection projects market; seminar programme Dubai Film Forum and meetings related to the Enjaaz post-production fund.

“We consolidated everything this year – before it was spread around the festival and there was no coordination between the events,” said Dubai Filmmart director Ziad Yaghi. “Cinetech is also more evolved. Buyers are very happy with the technology and the fact that we make it clear which films are premieres, and which territories are available, so they don’t have to waste time.”

Front Row managing director Gianluca Chacra said the market helped regional distributors reach out to ancillary platforms. “When we buy all rights we need to sell to TV but a lot of the broadcasters from the region don’t go to major markets like Cannes,” Chacra said. “We also see people here from smaller markets like Sudan and Yemen who can’t afford to travel. There’s also a lot of people from Iran.”

Launched in 2007, the Dubai Film Connection, a co-production market for projects from Arab directors, has so far presented around 52 projects of which 15 have been completed and nine are in production.

Enjaaz, the newest component of DIFF’s market activities, has so far awarded post-production funding to around ten films, including some which were screening at DIFF, such as Hesham Issawi’s Cairo Exit and Koutaiba Al Janabi’s Leaving Baghdad.

“It’s all about finding where the gaps are,” said DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya. “We found that people were starting to shoot without enough money to complete their films.”

Dubai’s industry activities have also linked up with several other markets and festivals including Beirut DC’s documentary workshop, San Sebastian’s Cinema In Motion programme, Torino FilmLab and the Cairo International Film Festival’s co-production market.