AMPAS Adds Dubai to Qualifying Festival List for Oscar Short Film Contention

The Academy’s visiting delegation, which includes former president Sid Ganis, said Dubai is "significant" and can contribute shorts for consideration.

DUBAI – The Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said on Dec. 8 that the Dubai International Film Festival would be joining the ranks of qualifying festivals for the Oscar’s short film competition.

AMPAS announced the deal on the third day of the 10th edition of the festival in Dubai as the AMPAS delegation, made up of former Academy president Sid Ganis, managing director of outreach and strategic initiative, Vic Bulluck, and the director of exhibitions and collections, Ellen Harrington, visited the event.

"We’re really excited that DIFF is now a qualifying film festival for short films," said Ganis. "It feels like this decision was made just a few hours ago, but it was about a day ago. We think that DIFF is significant and that this is an important festival."

The qualification will apply to DIFF’s Muhr Arab and Muhr Asia Africa shorts competitions, making the festival the first from the Arab world to be on the list, having applied to join back in April.

Winning films from this year’s festival can qualify for the Academy’s 2015 competition.

In a session entitled Beyond the Oscars, the AMPAS team discussed the inner mechanisms of the Academy, along with its numerous outreach programs around the world.

"We’re looking now at how to make sure that we have an ongoing presence," Ganis said, pointing to various new initiatives, including a trip to Iran in 2009. "We created a relationship with Iran’s House of Cinema -- which is very similar to the Academy. They invited us. We were the first American arts group to go to Iran since the revolution."

Speaking of Iran’s 2011 Oscar-winner A Separation, Bulluck said he hoped it would inspire new filmmakers in Iran, as would DIFF’s opening night film, Omar. "When you have a film like A Separation, all boats rise with the tide, artists are inspired. As for Omar, who knows where its success will lead. But I think it’s a great film. Any filmmaker should be inspired."