According to today's Variety, Arabic news service and satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera is turning for the first time towards the world of independent filmmaking. Starting within the next year or so, the Al-Jazeera Sponsorship Fund will award merit-based "grants to support and develop indie productions, and young directors and producers." In addition, the networks plans to offer training sessions, workshops, and "technical services" to a broader array of filmmakers (the financial support will be given out based on applications; the sessions appear to be open to a large audience). In the eyes of Al-Jazeera, the initiative is just "a first step in fostering the development of arts and culture in the region and beyond."

This move by the network is an undeniable boon to filmmakers in The Middle East, and it doesn't seem as if it should be controversial simply because Al-Jazeera is involved. When the films they finance start to show up at festivals, however, expect the American press to jump on any political content like sharks in a feeding frenzy. Mmm...politics.
categories Movies, Cinematical