LAFF encourages investment from private sector to develop talent

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The 4th annual Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) commenced in Egypt on 21
March 2015. Formed by the Independent Shabab Foundation, a non-profit
organisation in Egypt under the country’s Ministry of Culture, LAFF is an annual
event which screens films from across the continent, showcases African filmmaking
talent and celebrates the diverse cultures within the continent. This year, the LAFF
event saw participation from 41 African countries.

As part of the LAFF objective to grow and nurture the arts in Africa, in 2014 the
festival, with support from private sector institutions, launched the Space to
Establish Partnership Program (STEP) competition to support the development of
long narratives by young African filmmakers, specifically concerning their first or
second work. The 2015 STEP programme is supported by private organisations
Qalaa Holdings, a leading Egyptian investment company in infrastructure and
industry and the ETISAL Fund Management of Egypt.

The 2015 STEP programme drew a record 59 film submissions from across Africa
competing for the US$ 5000 prize to fund the development and pre-production
phase of the winner’s first or second film. The competitors were grouped in four
film categories: Long Narrative Competition, Long Documentaries Competition,
Short Films Competition, and Freedom Competition.

“We firmly believe that promoting the arts is one of the best ways to build cultural
bridges and discover how much we have in common; one history and one destiny,’
said Ghada Hammouda, CMO and head of communications at Qalaa Holdings, which
in addition to the sponsorship of the festival, are also sponsoring an award for the
Best Short Film category and a special workshop for long feature films.

The support in nurturing talent in the arts by private institutions such as Africa
Investment Company Qalaa Holdings demonstrates a different kind of inclusive
growth taking shape in Africa – where policy makers and business leaders integrate
and nurture the social cultural space to enable youth development and advancement
of enterprise through the arts.

“The Africa film industry is still relatively immature with a long way to go before it
can catch up to those of Western countries. Encouraging participation in the sector
through programmes such as STEP is a step in the right direction, as it will help not
only in training but also in instilling confidence in young African filmmakers to help
them advance their careers.’ said Neema Reed, a film producer and actress from
Tanzania.

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