BY SACHIN KUMAR
Doha: The political instability in Egypt is bad news for Arabic film lovers.
Qatar is expected to see fewer releases of Arabic movies this year as film production in Egypt has been adversely affected by the ongoing crisis.
Any adverse impact on the Egyptian film industry is felt by Arabic movie lovers not only in Qatar but also the rest of the Arabic-speaking GCC countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Egypt has a dominating position in the Arab world when it comes to film-making because of its rich history and number of films produced per year.
It was the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to establish a film industry and screenings began in 1896.
“This year is likely to be a quite year for Arabic films because of the turbulence in Egypt,” said Mana Ibrahim Al Mana, Chairman, Qatar Property Management, which runs four cinema halls in Qatar.
“Egypt holds an important place in Arabic cinema as most Arabic films are made there,” he said. Before the beginning of instability, Egypt had been producing maximum films per year in the region.
According to Unesco data, Egypt produced 42 films per year during 2005 to 2009 — the highest in the region. Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia also produce Arabic films. Twenty-eight films were made in Egypt in 2011 while Morocco produced 24, Lebanon 14 and Tunisia 11. Qatar and other GCC countries do not have film industry and depend on other countries for Arabic films.
Craze for Arabic films is gradually catching on in Qatar. The number of Arabic movies released in five years reached 119 in 2012 from 93 in 2008.
Until Egypt has political stability and its film industry runs full steam, fans of Arabic films in Qatar will have to content with non-Arabic ones. The Peninsula