The first ever Arab Film Institute (AFI) was launched during the Dubai International Film Festival. Headquartered in Dubai, the non-profit cultural association will provide a platform where Arab films’ past, present and future is discussed, imagined and celebrated by those who contribute to the development of the industry.
The new institute was announced during DIFF’s landmark 13th year underlining the festival’s commitment to supporting the growth of the regional film industry.
Designed to bring together the most promising and brightest of Arab filmmakers under one roof, the AFI will be a meeting point between the art, technique and commerce involved in a prosperous film industry through learning, advocacy and networking.
AFI will also promote a healthy eco-system of distribution and promotion to bolster the ever-growing regional film network and will work across the globe with international organisations to provide opportunities for Arab film globally.
Set to honour the work of the film community, its talent and its innovation are the annual Arab Film Awards, a key initiative from the new institute. The inaugural AFI Awards Ceremony will be held in March 2018 and includes honours for Best Film, Best Director, Best Producer, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenwriter, Best Director of Photography, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Lifetime Achievement Award, and more.
Helping drive the goals of the new institute forward are an experienced and respected board, comprised of some of the regions most renowned filmmakers and supporters of the arts. The noteworthy board members include Al Zain Al Sabah – Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs & Film Producer (Kuwait); Nabil Ayouch – Filmmaker and Producer (Morocco); Jawaheer Abdulla Al Qassimi – Director of Funn, Media Arts for Youth and Sharjah Children International Film Festival (UAE); Hafiz Ali Ali – Filmmaker and Producer (Qatar); Dora Bouchoucha – Producer (Tunisia); Salem Brahimi – Filmmaker and Producer (Algeria); George David – Managing Director of Royal Film Commission (Jordan); Mohamed Hefzy – Film Producer and scriptwriter (Egypt); Antoine Khalife – Director of Arab Film Programme at DIFF and Film Expert (Lebanon); Rashid Masharawi – Filmmaker and Producer (Palestine); and Maysoon Pachachi – Filmmaker (Iraq).
Paul Baboudjian, executive director and producer of AFI at DIFF, said: “Being a witness and active member of the bright and rich Arab film scene, I felt we needed to bring together all this energy and exchange experiences and ideas as well as offering wider opportunities in a fast-changing world to our film community.”