The Board of the Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) has announced that, during its third edition (March 18-24, 2014), opening next Tuesday, steps will be taken to create a market for African Cinema through an ETISALAT initiative (ETISALAT being a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Africa and the Middle East), with the participation of African producers and filmmakers, a number of directors of African festivals worldwide, and also digital and satellite platforms.

Azza al-Husseini, director of the festival, said that, during the last edition, the attendees recommended that the festival introduce an initiative that would support rising African filmmakers, by establishing a film market to help the production, promotion and distribution of new films, and also suggested embracing technological advancement when it comes to cinema in Africa, as well as the establishment of a database and a digital library of African films.

To start, Azza al-Husseini added that ETISALAT will contribute $100,000 to the LAFF’s $40,000, to support the production of 20 short films by African filmmakers, this year (so that’s about $7,000 per short film).

Finally, al-Husseini pointed out that the market will add a program called STEP, which will create a meeting space between film funders, industry professionals, and filmmakers, where 5 feature films in various stages of production, by young filmmakers across the continent or who are of the African diaspora, will be selected.

The market will run in conjunction with the Luxor African Film Festivl (LAFF), which runs from March 18-24, in Luxor, Egypt.

The festival aims to support and encourage African film production and partnerships between African countries, notably through supporting ties between African artists.