Dubai's Technology and Media Free Zone Authority has announced a new initiative with DIFF that will provide Gulf filmmakers with a broader platform to exhibit their films and discuss issues that concern this region. The inaugural Gulf Film Festival (GFF) will run from April 9-15, 2008. Massoud Amralla Al Ali will head GFF as festival director.
Most competitions at GFF will be open only to Arab nationals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Iraq and Yemen. However, there will be a couple of competitions that will also be open to expatriate filmmakers who live in these countries. A small selection of international short films will also be screened at the festival.
Speaking about GFF at a press meet, Abdulhamid Juma, deputy director general of Tecom and chairman of DIFF, said: "This initiative will further our mandate of promoting Arab cinema. It has always been clear to us that this region abounds with talent and is a viable and rich setting for quality cinema in its own right."
Besides the official competition, GFF will have several other programming segments: Out of Competition will screen Gulf feature films and shorts than were not selected for the official competition; In Their Eyes will screen films made by directors who reside in the Gulf region; the Best of Arab Short Films will feature films screened or submitted to the Muhr Awards for Excellence in the Arab Cinema segment at the Dubai International Film Festival; Intersections will show short films from around the world; and In the Spotlight will screen short films celebrating a particular director's experience, a cinematic movement, or a certain country.
"We already have a strong movement in making short films," commented Al Ali at the conference. "We hope this festival will now encourage Arab filmmakers to look at making feature length films."