Has On.Dxb replaced Vidxb and DIFF?

Spike Lee will be present at On.Dxb 2019.
Spike Lee will be present at On.Dxb 2019.

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On.Dxb, a new regional festival designed to support industry growth and talent development in media, entertainment and content development. The event will focus on films, music, online content and video games, is around the corner and was officially announced at a press conference held by Dubai Media City and the Dubai Film and TV Commission.

Amongst laying out the structure for the new event, Jamal Al Sharif, CEO of the Dubai Film and TV Commission said that On.Dxb would “complement events from the past”. This was in response to whether the likes of Vidxb would still be held.

The presser also served as a reality check for the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and its myriad of fans. Those expecting the festival to still be alive and kicking should not read beyond this point.

Al Sharif said Dubai “had to move on” from DIFF to focus on rapidly changing technology and content and focus more on the work of Emirati and Arab filmmakers. The door hasn’t closed entirely either. Al Sharif said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I can’t predict that, and I don’t know what will happen in another five or ten years. Technology is moving, content is changing, so we had to move on.”

I understand where the authorities are coming from but more importantly I appreciate the vision they have for the future. In these fast-paced digital times, it’s imperative to move, and swiftly. It’s good to have a legacy concept, but it’s also important for a city to provide a platform for burgeoning sub-sectors.

The On.DXB event, which will run from November 21 to 23 at Dubai Studio City, will include talent-led discussions and keynote talks from the likes of American filmmaker Spike Lee, Tom Beattie, the producer of the animated version of Mr. Bean, British actor and rapper Kano, and gaming icon MjrmGames.

Actor and producer Liza Koshy, who has a captive audience of 25 million YouTube subscribers with Liza on Demand, will deliver a digital content keynote during the event.

Having released a ‘Call for Content’ to regional film, game, video and music industry talent, On.DXB has received more than 250 submissions from across the GCC and Levant, as well as international entries.

Many Dubai residents have lived the better part of their lives with DIFF being a firm fixture in their calendars. As a media and videography student I’ve been a frequent at film festivals. In this rapidly evolving world do we still have room for a film festival in Dubai? Write into me at nikhil.pereira@itp.com.

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