Meet the Programmers: Erfan Rashid

Tue Nov 27,2012

How has the Arab Muhr competition evolved over seven years and what role has DIFF played in developing Arab cinema?

DIFF gives an important opportunity for the Arabic-speaking audience to monitor the state of the Arab cinema. It also gives a unique opportunity for Arab film-makers to interact with that audience, in addition to expanding their audience base. Going beyond Arab film and film-makers, the festival has increased audience appreciation of artistic cinema.


How do you decide on a film for the Muhr Arab competition?

What determines the selection is the film itself, as it imposes itself by its quality and uniqueness of its cinematic language, and what it offers as a creative contemporary contribution. We received a massive number of films which reflects the increasing interest in DIFF and its distinguished role, considering DIFF takes place at the end of the year after many regional festivals.


Given your extensive knowledge of contemporary Arab cinema, how do you evaluate the submissions?

Aside from evaluating the quality, which is key; the most important characteristics of an Arab film I consider are the boldness of approach, and the diversity of subject. Arab film-makers are embracing the open space that has opened up before them, just like genies being released from a tiny bottle. But there lies a clear and present danger, which is falling into a repetitive trap. They must remember that playing on the same chord, will only result in noise.


Erfan’s audience tip

DIFF offers what no other festival does. Make the most of it - watch as many films as you can and search deeply behind what you see on the screen

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