Local filmmakers are in for a treat as the Mashariki Film Festival returns with new additions that will not only enhance the local film industry but also take it to the international arena. The annual festival, which starts on November 28, and runs until 30, will attract over 2, 000 influential players in the film industry from all corners of the world, all of whom will participate in Masharika's new platform dubbed Masharket, according to Mashariki African Film Festival's Executive Director Tressor Nsenga. Nsenga was speaking at a press briefing in Kigali on Thursday, October 12, ahead of the ninth edition of the Mashariki Film Festival, which will take place next month at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (former Camp Kigali). He explained that Mashariki, during the three-day festival, will launch 'Marshaket,' the first film market in Rwanda, with the aim of connecting local writers, filmmakers and other stakeholders in the sector with investors who will support their art and distribute locally produced films on major platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. Mashariki started in 2005 with the aim of helping films produced in Rwanda to reach the international level of cinema, but this did not solve the problems that still exist in the sector, including the fact that film producers and writers are not able to move their projects as they should. In order to find solutions to the existing problems in our industry, we thought of initiating a market that will operate during the Mashariki Film Fest and connect film producers and buyers, said Nsega. He further said the market will attract 67 different countries and that there is a possibility that representatives from major platforms such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and many others will attend. “We expect 2,000 people to come from outside Rwanda, but we aim to attract over 10,000 next year. This will be a game changer for Rwanda’s film industry,” he added. Lionel Kayitare, Masharket's program manager, explains that the platform was conceived as a means to expand the market for local films and create opportunities for many who lack the support to turn good ideas into reality, as well as oversee partnerships between producers and distributors. This will increase the number of people making films in Rwanda and also push local players to produce quality films that can compete internationally, said Kayitare.