Gulf Film Festival opens with City of Life

Selection includes large number of entries from UAE, KSA and Oman.
A screen shot Omani film, The Guard.
A screen shot Omani film, The Guard.

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The third edition of the Gulf Film Festival (GFF) opened on Thursday, April 7 with Emirati filmmaker Ali Mostafa’s City of Life. 194 contemporary films from 41 countries will be screened over the next seven days at Dubai Festival City as part of GFF.

The festival will screen a whopping 36 entries from UAE with Saudi Arabia following close behind with 24 submissions. This time, we will also see 10 entries from Oman, eight from Kuwait and six from Bahrain. GFF will also showcase 25 Iraqi films.

Gulf Film Festival chairman Abdulhamid Juma commented that the festival “has set the base for a robust GCC film industry and helped audiences evolve as serious, discerning cinema lovers, which in turn inspires filmmakers to pursue their passion and convert their dreams into reality”.

There will be an impressive selection of films from Oman this year that include different narrative styles.

Up-and-coming Omani filmmaker Khalid Al-Kalbani’s The Guard, which portrays the pain of betrayal and Jasim Albutashi’s Bara’ah, which promises that there is light at the end of the tunnel, will both be competing in the short film competition.

Several other short films from Omani students will also be showcased at the festival. Lamad by Al Motasim Al-Shaqsi, for instance, portrays the life of a farmer; Niqab by Muzna Al Musafir portrays the story of a lady in conflict; Leaking from Amjad Abdullah Al Hinai and Khamis Sulyem Ambo-Saidi explore a child who looks for solace in play and Al-Jahla by Sultan Al-Hussaini, which depicts the mythical wealthy life of a man who is unable to have a sip of water. Other entries from Oman include Maryam Mohammed Al-Gheilani’s A Rope Knot and Mashnaqah by Abdullah Al Maqimi.

Abdullah AlBatashi and Mahmood Al Bimani will showcase their films in the ‘Lights’ segment of GFF.

Festival director Masoud Amralla Al Ali called GFF "undisputedly the home to a new wave in Arab cinema".

"It serves as the only venue for all members of the larger film fraternity to meet, discuss and explore films, several of them providing compelling glimpses into life in the Gulf region. This year’s selection has a rich collection by debutants, which highlights the growing appeal of films as a preferred tool for creative expression,” Amralla added.

The third edition of GFF will be held from April 8 – 14, 2010 at Dubai Festival City.

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