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Introducing The Malta International Film Festival



Monday, February 12----A new film festival has been launched on the beautiful and historic island nation of Malta. The Malta International Film Festival, which will be held from September 15-23, 2007, hosted a press conference and reception this morning  at the Hotel Berlin to introduce the international film community to the festival team and to its ambitious plans for its inaugural event. The Festival is being organized by the AECEO (Association pour l'Echange Culturel Entre l'Europe et l'Orient, a cultural association based in Paris) with the collaboration of AraMage Artistic Production , AJR Events and with the support of Maltese Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The Festival Director Hisham Abdel Kalhek offered a tantalizing view of some of the exciting elements of this newest festival on the international circuit, and announced a special tribute prize to be given to Marco Müller, to honor his dual careers as a prolific film producer and a veteran film festival director (formerly of Locarno, Turin and currently of the Venice International Film Festival).

The Malta International Film Festival will feature seven sections: An international official competition with two international juries (film jury and critics jury), EU Dialogue Section (French Cinema tribute), World Panorama (Iranian Cinema tribute), Arabisk (a section dedicated to Arabic cinema with the support of Med screen Programme of the EU), International Panorama and Short Night (a screening of short films supported by Euromed Café of the EU) plus the Tribute Films Section. In all, 150 films will be screened at the event. In addition, the Malta International Film Market (MIFM) will be held during the Festival, with the participation of international producers, distributors, sales agents, production services and film laboratories, film festivals, film commissions and cinema magaziHisham Abdel KhalekHisham Abdel Khaleknes.

Festival Director Hisham Abdel Khalek is a well respected producer, director and scriptwriters who serves as the chairman of AraMage Artistic Production and the founder of AECEO, a cultural association based in Paris. Born in Cairo, he started his career as a journalist and editor in chief of Alam El Fonoun Magazine, the first Arabic arts magazine on the internet. In his varied career, Mr. Abdel Khalek has been the artistic director for several leading opera presentations in the Middle East, as well as the Artistic Director of the Alexandria International Film Festival, as well as founder of the first Animation Film Festival in Dubai. 

A few international films have been already confirmed for the event, including the Israeli film SWEET MUD (Israel's official entry for the Oscars and a major hit at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals); HOW ARE YOU? (the first Saudi feature film, directed by Izidaore Musallam); NONE BUT THAT! (the first Egyptian big-budget musical extravaganza since the 1960s, directed by Khaled El Hagar) and a series of films from France, Iran, Germany and Italy. The Festival has decided to place a special spotlight on the cinema of France and Iran, two of the most prolific and influential cinema cultures in the world. Films in the Competition Section of the Malta International Film Festival will compete in the categories for The Golden Cross, The Silver Cross, Best Director, Best Scriptwriter, Best Actor, Best Actress, Jury Special Prize and Critics Jury Prize. Awards will be presented at the special Closing Gala on September 23rd.

The fledgling festival announced major sponsorship alliances with such organizations as the CNC, Screen International, Pitchers Magazine, TV5 Monde Europe, Filmfestivals.com and Fest21.com. Film Finders, a rights management and consulting firm based in Los Angeles, has signed a pact with the Festival to provide critical consulting services for the first Malta International Film Market, drawing on their extensive network of industry contacts and relationships. 

For more information on submitting films to the Festival, receiving press or industry accreditations or for future announcements, visit the official Festival website: www.maltafilmfestival.com

Sandy Mandelberger, Berlin Online Dailies Editor

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