The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has released details of its 2006 programming, including films for children, diverse offerings in Arab and international cinema, and the In Competition section for the recently announced awards program, the Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema.
In addition to the programming, DIFF has also introduced two new facilities, the DIFF Industry Office and the DIFF Press and Publicity office, to service DIFF’s visiting filmmakers and industry members.
Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of DIFF, stated: “With the new programming and administrative support for industry activities, we are readying ourselves for our biggest year yet. We are an international festival not only in name, but in the services we provide and of course the superb art that we showcase.”
The festival’s main program is divided into two sections. The first, In Competition, showcases the films competing for the Muhr Awards, in which AED 1.2 million (US $325 000) in prize money for Excellence in Arab Film is at stake. Ten films will compete in each of three categories: narrative features, documentaries and shorts.
The second section, Out of Competition, features both Arab and international programming. The two dedicated Arab programs include Arabian Nights featuring works of some of the world’s best Arab filmmakers, and Emerging Emiratis showcasing films by UAE nationals.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director for Arab Programming expanded on the Emerging Emiratis programme: “The UAE has nurtured a number of interesting artists, and we designed this program to give our international guests not only a glimpse of their stunning talent, but also of some of the themes and concerns of Emirati life and culture.”
The international programming is subdivided into nine categories:
• Operation Cultural Bridge features films that mend the rift in cross-cultural understanding between the Muslim world and the West in the post-9/11 era. One of these films will be selected to close the festival in a special gala screening on 17 December, 2006.
• Café Europe comprises films from across Europe’s major film production centers such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain.
• Insights from Asia will feature cinema from the culturally rich capitals of the Far East including Japan, China, Philippines and South Korea.
• Cinema from the Subcontinent will show both independent and studio films from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, including the best of Bollywood.
• Destination Documentary will present the best documentaries of 2005-2006 projecting core human values that surface in contemporary turbulent settings.
• In Honor of Africa will focus on this extremely diverse continent. The criteria for entry to this program are content-based, and not dependent on the origins of the filmmaker.
• Contemporary World Cinema features a wide cross-section of work from filmmakers from all corners of the globe including Romania, Russia, Iran and Argentina.
• Cinema for Children is new to DIFF in 2006, and will show films from Finland, Denmark, Germany and the United States, which will appeal to children of diverse nationalities.
• DIFF Salutes presents and celebrates the work of a distinguished actor, director or producer from each of three cinema strongholds: Asia, the Arab World, and Hollywood.
In addition to the programming, there will be a variety of workshops, panels and gatherings of industry professionals.
Hamid added, “The fact that we have so many categories testifies to the diversity of films we receive. We are confident we have chosen the best of thousands of entries, and that we have curated our programs to make it easy for festival-goers to make a well-informed choice about what they want to see.
“We are particularly thrilled to present films for children so they can be part of the festival excitement as well.”
DIFF, in its third year, will run from December 10-17.