Meet the Programmers: Sheila Whitaker

Sun Dec 02,2012

Sheila, you’ve headed the London Film Festival (1987-1996). When presented with the opportunity to help launch and build DIFF, what were your initial thoughts?

Feelings perhaps came first - anticipation, excitement and then a degree of apprehension since it was a country and an audience I didn’t know. But then I thought, a good film is a good film and surely there will always be an audience for those.


What are your observations about DIFF’s audience? How, if at all, have they changed since 2004? What do they have the greatest appetite for?

DIFF’s audience is enthusiastic and always has good discussions with film-makers. I don’t think they have changed much, there are just more of them. They seem to have an appetite for all  sorts of films but then we shouldn’t forget there are many different audiences not simply one.


With literally the world to pick from, how do you go about the selection process, for an audience as diverse as Dubai’s?

I look for good, challenging films – that’s it!



Take the plunge – don’t just watch the films you know you like, but choose one or two from left field.

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