The Egyptian film market is rapidly growing, and independent films have to fight in order to reach the audience.
With a growing number of independent narrative and documentary film productions, preserving copyrights become very important.
Corporate law firm, Al Tamimi & Company, provides support to filmmakers looking to determine ways to hold, protect and exploit their rights when it comes to their work.
Copyright is automatically vested to anyone who creates an original work of authorship, such as literary works, songs, or movies. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to perform and display the work publicly.
From small independent productions to vast mainstream projects, every filmmaker is able to effectively interact with Al Tamimi & Company and utilise the firm’s broad areas of expertise, in Egypt and the Middle East. This includes support for the process of finance, development, production and distribution of content.
Al Tamimi & Company shares the differences amongst the various hats that can be worn on a given production, and identifies some of the common legal traps which independent filmmakers can easily fall into.
Most importantly, the company’s lawyers work within the Egyptian media market, and have focused on creating documentation that will enable local producers to distribute their product to international platforms.
“Al Tamimi works with several international platforms, who all require the creation of local law compliant agreements, which meet the exact standards of the international market,” said Ayman Nour, Partner and Head of Corporate Structuring at Al Tamimi & Company Egypt.
While Egypt’s film industry has strong and long-running roots to stand on, Egyptian producers are currently creating independent content with their eye on the international market. This wider outlook allows them to showcase a broad range of Arabic content to the world.
Fiona Robertson, Head of Media and Senior Counsel of Al Tamimi & Company, said that Egypt is filled with amazing stories that are ripe for broad international exposure and audiences who are keen to dignify these stories.
With 27 years of hands-on global experience in the legal industry, Robertson explained this can only be done if the producers have access, and are able, to utilise the right legal terms and documents.
“Certain materials and tools will be required in order to have an unfettered capability for distribution on local and global platforms,” she said.
Robertson, along with the company’s commercial and IP team in the Egypt office, recently worked on independent Egyptian film Luxor. For this, they provided advice on finance structures, undertaking the structuring of the original rights acquisition, as well as providing key agreements for director, talent and crew.
The film follows a British aid worker, Hana, who returns to the ancient city of Luxor, meeting her former lover and talented archaeologist, Sultan. She struggles to reconcile the choices of the past with the uncertainty of the present.
The film premiered at the Sundance World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and has received wide acclaim, both as a film and as a vehicle for representing Egypt and its creative talent to the world.
With increasing demand for high quality foreign content, and the high profile of film festivals in the Middle East region, and Egypt in particular, the pressure is on producers to create quality content that is supported by high standards of legal documentation.