Giffoni, Dubai fests forge ties

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ROME -- Italy's 36-year-old Giffoni Film Festival on Tuesday said it is in the late stages of talks to ally itself with the Dubai Film Festival as part of Dubai's efforts to develop part of its program for children.

The Giffoni festival, held every summer in Rome, focuses on films and documentaries for viewers age 19 and under and Dubai organizers announced Monday that it plans feature a sidebar of films for youngsters beginning with this year's festival, which runs Dec. 10-17.

According to sources close to the Giffoni festival, the alliance is nearly finalized, with Giffoni managing director Claudio Gubitosi and Dubai artistic director Abdulhamid Juma meeting this week in Dubai's Media City.

The plan is for the two festivals to begin cross-promoting and screening selections from each other starting next year and for them to become full partners in 2008. Gubitosi and Juma will meet in Rome in February to finalize the link, sources said.

When closed, it will be the second significant link between a Rome-based film festival and a festival on another continent. Earlier this year, the inaugural RomaCinemaFest announced a similar link up with the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
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