Dubai film fest welcomes int'l critics

FIPRESCI invited to fifth edition of the festival

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Arabic films at the Dubai International Film Festival will be bracing themselves for tougher than average scrutiny, with the announcement that the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) will judge the entries.

The international critics' prize will be awarded for the best feature film in the Muhr Awards section of the competition, a segment devoted to Arab, Asian and African filmmakers, with a purse of $500,000 to be shared among the winning entries.

In addition to awarding the prize, FIPRESCI will host a panel discussion led by French critic Jean Roy Paris, on Arab cinema's impact on the global arena. The organization presents awards at festivals including Toronto, Cannes, Venice and Berlin.

"FIPRESCI is one of the most prominent authorities on film criticism in the world, and it is an honor for us that they chose DIFF to present their first ever award to Arab film," Dubai artistic director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said. "This award represents international recognition that Arab cinema will continue to grow as the industry matures and the infrastructure improves."

Added Klaus Eder, general secretary of FIRPRESCI: "Festivals offer a most exciting opportunity to become acquainted with world cinema as most cinema theaters do increasingly mirror only a very small segment of the world's film production. We welcome the offer to come with a jury to Dubai, a festival that presents recent Arab production. We hope to open a window, in Dubai, to a world which for us by now stayed rather unknown."

The fifth Dubai festival is set for Dec. 11-18.