Executives from cinema chains, major studios, film distributors and their global partners attended the red-carpet affair. The awards were quantified by ComScore and presented in partnership with Dubai Studio City.
VOX Cinemas was recognized as the highest grossing cinema operator in the MENA region. VOX CEO Cameron Mitchell, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment and his team accepted the award.
The highest grossing film distributor of the year award went to Italia Film, who also earned an award for Aladdin, the highest grossing Hollywood movie of the year in the MENA region. John Chahine, managing director of Italia Film, distributors of Disney in the region, accepted the award.
The award for highest grossing Arabic Film of the year was won by The Secret Men Club (Naadi Al Rajal Al Serri) and received by Front Row Entertainment and their partners Kuwait National Cinema Company. The award for highest grossing Indian Film was received by Lucifer and their distributor, Gulf Film’s founding member and CEO, Ahmad Golchin.
The People’s Choice Awards for the best film, best director and best screenplay were all won by Capernaum and received by distributor Empire Movies and the film’s co-writer Jihad Hojeily.
The MENA Cinema Awards was the concluding ceremony to the MENA Cinema Forum, the region’s only cinema convention. The three-day event welcomed more than 1000 cinema executives from around the world including global and regional studios such as Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Myrkotte Animation Studios and their regional film distributors. All the major and independent cinemas from across the region were present.
Several leadings CEOs attended including those from VOX Cinemas, Novo Cinemas, Reel Cinemas, Roxy, Carnival, StarzPlay, AMC Saudi Arabia, Cinepolis, Muvi, CineRoyal, Wow Cinemas, Cinema Akil, Zawya, and many more. Cinema and technology giants such as Dolby, Christie, Cinionic and 80 other exhibitors showcased their latest products and services. The event’s industry partner’s managing director, Majed Al Suwaidi from Dubai Studio City opened the exhibition, welcoming the visitors to the biggest cinema exhibition on this side of the world.
On day one, the conference focused on major upcoming projects and CEOs of major cinema chains announced their multi-million pipelines and called for further partnership amongst all stakeholders. The second day of the conference was dedicated to technology and customer management, while the third day was focused on content and featured panel discussions about ways to increase regional production, quality of work and international distribution. Panelists included executives from studios, government, universities and distribution companies.
The event also premiered several regional, international and art movies at VOX Cinemas, the event’s strategic partner, and Reel Cinemas, the event’s cinema partner. The lineup of premieres included Terminator: The Dark Fate, Addams Family, Son-Mother and Leonardo: The Full Works. In addition to the premieres, upcoming films Warner Bros. Picture International, Gulf Film, and Front Row Entertainment were showcased for cinema decision makers for their selection in 2020.
Organizers said the MENA Cinema Forum would return in 2020 with even a bigger show.