Speaking of crowd-funding… this is news to me, so I assume it’s news to others as well.

There’s a new crowdfunding site called Aflamnah (it actually launched in July 2012, so it’s still relatively young) that’s essentially the Arab World’s (Middle East and North Africa region’s) answer to sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

It’s said to be the FIRST crowdfunding platform specifically for Middle Eastern and North African projects of all kinds, including, of course, cinema.

It was founded by Vida Rizq, previously a consultant at the Dubai Film Market – the co-production market of Dubai International Film Festival – and also a film producer, who has witnessed the difficulty filmmakers in the region have to endure in getting their films financed. 

She notes that around 1,000 films get made in the Arab World on an annual basis, and many more would be made if more funds were available. “There is a lot of disappointment when it comes to funding, and I felt that we could do something about it,” she said at the launch.

’Aflamnah’ was my idea, but every time I talked about it to anybody, it seemed to be on everybody’s minds, but until last month, no one did anything about it,” she says. “We felt that the timing is right and all the indicators seem to go in the right direction. So we took the initiative.

Aflamnah does charge a $100 non-refundable fee for creating a campaign on the platform, and also takes 6% of the money raised if the campaign reaches its goal. 

Asked about where she sees Aflamnah in the next couple of years, she says, “I see it becoming the bench-mark for crowd-funding in the region. We hope to be the place where good ideas come to life.

Currently on the platform, I learned about a few intriguing-looking project campaigns on the site, like this one for a new short film titled 51, written by Michelle Nickelson, and to be directed by John Steven Baltazar, which is described as thriller based on numbers.

The film’s cast is made up of Navid Neghaban (Homeland), Mylène Gomera and Rik Aby (both in the pitch video below). It also features the acting debut of Emirati model Omar Borkan Al Gala.

The crowdfunding campaign launched this week, with the goal being to raise a hefty $170,000

51 is said to be the UAE’s first short film collaboration between Hollywood and local talent.

I’ll highlight other intriguing campaigns that I came across. 

But you can learn more about this new crowdfunding site for the Arab World HERE.