IEFTA Newsletter – Fall 2016

IEFTA Newsletter – Fall 2016

Dear Friends and Supporters of the IEFTA,

The IEFTA marked its 10th Anniversary in 2016 with new projects, new partners and renewed determination!  We are so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and grateful  to you our friends, funders and collaborators for enabling us to deliver opportunity and education to those with limited access to cinematic self-expression.  Your passion & perseverance have allowed us to inspire and produce film art while changing perceptions and creating opportunities.

Below, I have compiled highlights from the past year, emphasizing new initiatives we’re excited to undertake and updates from existing efforts we’ve been honored to execute.

IEFTA at the Cannes Film Festival

Pursuing our mission to identify, nurture and promote cinematic talent – especially from resource and access limited communities – we returned once again to the Cannes Film Festival.  This year we dramatically expanded our presence, our interventions and our impact.  In particular, the IEFTA

    • Produced & Hosted the “Refugee Voices in Film” Conference
    • Sponsored and Programmed a video “pop-up” space on Refugee Films in the Documentary Corner of the Marché Du Film
    • Launched our new Bangladesh Film Initiative (IBIF)
    • Affirmed & enhanced our affiliation with the Watersprite Film Festival in the UK
    • Extended our mentoring program for Ethiopian filmmakers


Responding to the largest refugee crisis in the 21st Century, IEFTA presented the Refugee Voices in Film Conference on May 18th at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. Conceived by Ragnhild Ek (Director, UNHCR Egypt), the conference,  a collaboration among the IETFA, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)  and the Marché Du Film  (Cannes’ official marketplace), explored how stories are shared, examined global responses on screen, heard from filmmaking activists and built awareness by amplifying the voices of refugees.    Filmmaker and veteran festival organizer Mitch Levine produced the event with IEFTA financing.

While the refugee crisis endures, the IEFTA will continue its work with the UNHCR and Marché Du Film.  Because the crisis continues, we are already planning a 2017 conference.  For more information on this years’ event, we invite you to visit:

IEFTA & the Ethiopian Film Initiative (EFI)

IEFTA celebrates its 9th year developing film-related talent and supporting cinematic education in Ethiopia. As the indigenous industry has experienced a renaissance, our goals and objectives have adjusted to meet new demands and altered circumstances. While our Global Film Initiative continues to develop the careers of Ethiopian filmmakers on the international stage  — our guests at Cannes this year, participants at the 2014 event, came to negotiate distribution for a nearly completed feature! – we’ve re-doubled our efforts to expand and improve cinematic education nationwide.  For more information on our challenges and successes, please visit:


in 2016, we celebrated the first year of our collaboration with the Watersprite Film Festival, an event that is redefining the concept of a student festival.  IEFTA President Marco Orsini gave a key-note address to attendees, discussing our work in developing nations and on behalf of refugees.

With submissions from filmmakers in 78 countries on six continents, the Watersprite Awards and Festival in Cambridge is dedicated to celebrating, developing and positioning emerging global talent.  Watersprite’s non-profit, volunteer-run enterprise aligns beautifully with our mission and complements our efforts.  We look forward to the 2017 Festival as well as joint activities throughout the year.


At Cannes this May, we announced our partnership with the International Film Initiative of Bangladesh (IFIB).  Spearheaded by acclaimed director/producer Samia Zaman, Research Officer at the Bangladesh Institute of Strategic Studies, the Initiative introduces the nation’s most capable filmmakers to the global community, for the benefit of both and for audiences everywhere. Through festival partnerships, outreach to film professionals, critics and financial interest, the IFIB produces workshops, symposia, exhibitions and conferences on behalf of the Bangladeshi film industry, while advancing its full participation in the global marketplace.

Plans for our partnership in 2017 include:

•Sponsoring a development conference at the Dhaka International Film Festival, hosted by IFIB

•Funding an inaugural Dhaka to Cannes event

•Delivering creative consulting and logistical support

Our Thanks

None of the foregoing could have happened without your belief and contributions.  We ask that you continue to keep us in your hearts and on your list of worthy causes that merit support.  In 10 years time, we’ve achieved a great deal with minimal resources, a part-time staff, and the invaluable labor of our friends, members and partners.  There are so many stories to tell and so many voices we haven’t heard from yet.  Let’s discover them together.

Please follow us on Facebook (, Twitter ( and of course at our dedicated site:

And I will look forward to hearing from each and every one of you, whether to answer questions, hear your advice, or to accept your donation of time, money or expertise.

Marco Orsini, President

At the IEFTA, our mission is to discover and promote emerging cinema talent from around the world, to encourage dialogue among filmmakers, to promote cultural diversity and international understanding and to engage the art of cinema. Focusing on the world’s developing regions, IEFTA’s Global Film Expression Initiatives provide opportunity and education to those who have limited access to the resources for cinematic creativity.