Film fests team on boosting Middle East talent


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The burgeoning film community in the United Arab Emirates has received support from Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), which has pledged its support for the MINI Film Festival.

Confirming DIFF's ongoing commitment to developing homegrown filmmaking talent, artistic director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said, "The MINI Film Festival is an opportunity to see the small gems that catch the light, short works by budding film storytellers who possess a talent that we at DIFF aim to develop across this region. There is a definite filmmaking community here at each level, from the grassroots to feature filmmakers."

The film fest was launched in 2006 with more than 55 entries from amateur filmmakers across the Middle East. Novice filmmakers in the United Arab Emirates have until Nov. 1 to submit 15-minute shorts that can comprise live action, animation, computer graphics or experimental story-telling. A shortlist of 10 films will be revealed on Nov. 17, with the overall winner announced to a top-level industry audience at a gala screening in Dubai on Nov. 29.

"Gaining the confidence of a world-class film festival organization such as DIFF is an enormous compliment to our efforts in establishing the MINI Film Festival as a permanent and credible event," said Raymond Gedeon of MINI Brand Manager, BMW Group Middle East, organizers of the event. "It was vital to us from the beginning that the MINI Film Festival provided regional filmmakers with an environment where they could be encouraged to develop their skills, receive feedback from an audience and network with film industry representatives." Top-level representatives from DIFF will be present as part of the jury for the festival, the theme of which this year is "Incredibly...". Winners will receive prizes selected with partners in the film industry.

"We were delighted by the quality of entries we received in our inaugural year, and are excited by the news that some of the winners from last year have gone onto developing further shorts, animations and feature film projects," said Gedeon. "Having DIFF by our side for support and guidance not only benefits our continued commitment to creating opportunities for the regional film industry, but is also of immense value for our participants." More information is available through the MINI Web site.