Published on 3/2/2020
by Desislava Pancheva

i-Portunus is a financial assistance scheme of the “Creative Europe” programme. The Facility stimulates cross-border travel for artists and professionals working in the performing or visual arts for the purpose of exchanging experience, contacts, and enhancing professional competences. Applicants must be natural persons for whom the primary requirement is a desire for professional development.

Introducing Noura Al-Qadri, a young producer and distributor who seeks to work on quality productions and distribute films of Bulgarian talent abroad. At the end of last year, Noura spent two weeks in London with the help of “Creative Europe”.

Introduce yourself briefly. What do you do?

I’m 26 years old, born and living in Sofia, I have a degree in Business Administration from Sofia University. Already while I was a student, I started working as a film distributor at a production company. I was fascinated, so I chose the cinema industry as my professional path. That was 5 years ago. I spent the last year developing my own production/distribution studio called Hot Potato.

Noura AL-Qadri

How did you decide to apply on i-Portunus?

A friend of mine told me about the contest, and I spontaneously decided to give it a shot. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be approved, but I’m so glad I was wrong.

Did you have a hard time filling out the paperwork? Did you consult with anyone?

When I found out about the contest, I went directly to the program’s website and checked the guidelines given there. I found no particular difficulty in filling out the paperwork, although everything had to be in English. It was a little more time-consuming than I expected, partly due to waiting for the invitation from the organisation – this is one of the main requirements for applying. So getting the invitation took the longest, because it wasn’t up to me. 

I also had to prepare a portfolio and a CV.

“Many benefits – nothing to lose!”

How did you find the organisation that hosted your trip?

The organisation that kindly cooperated with me is called New East Cinema. It hosts screenings of Eastern European cinema at the Barbican Cultural Centre, perhaps one of London’s most important cultural institutions.

Over the past summer, in connection to film, I met one of the organisers in Sofia – a Bulgarian woman living in London. She needed a translator for interviews from and into Arabic for a short film that she was preparing… And of course, when I applied, I immediately thought of her! Being a distributor of Eastern European cinema myself, I thought it would be useful to meet the organisation’s team to exchange some experience and see if we could cooperate in the future.

Barbican Centre, London

Can you give us a brief account of how your mobility went under i-Portunus?

I went to London twice for one week each time, in October and November 2019. I visited New East Cinema for the exchange of good practices and experience, watched them work. I was also able to catch a screening of a Russian film organised by them and attend the subsequent conversation (Q&A) with the director. In parallel, on my own initiative, I was able to meet great people from the film industry – directors, producers, actors – thanks to networking events that I attended, and in London they are not uncommon at all.

“These are extremely important contacts for a company like mine, which is now starting and looking for collaborations and people to work with.”

Did you have any problems arranging the trip, and did you have enough financial support?

I believe I’m part of a generation that travels a lot and knows how to organise, so I didn’t have any problems with that. Even though London is an expensive city, the money I was given was enough.

Noura AL-Qadri

What’s the biggest benefit of your trip?

It was the meetings and conversations with people from the film industry that I met at the open screenings. I met some great producers that I’ve been in touch with since October, and we’re thinking about doing some projects together. 

Did the report you had to send give you a hard time?

No, I had to briefly describe what happened.

How would you define i-Portunus in your own words?

A great opportunity and support for young artists!

What would you say to people who haven’t applied or who are sceptical of such opportunities?

They should try without restraint! This will stimulate them to both clarify their professional development with regard to work and put their various projects in perspective, systematise the creative chaos in their souls and heads… Many benefits – nothing to lose!