DIFF Daily 2010

DIFF comes to a close tonight with Muhr Awards

Dec 19,2010 - 06:22 PM

Where did the past seven days go? Come to that, where did the past seven years go? It’s hard to believe that the seventh edition of DIFF is nearly over!
For the past seven days, we’ve seen a parade of celebrities from around the world, walked the red carpet, seen dozens of fantastic new movies, partied at galas, attended workshops, panel debates and networked with guests.
It’s been the biggest edition of the Festival yet - during which 157 films from 57 countries screened to thousands of viewers across Dubai. With 40 world premieres, 13 international premieres, 58 Middle Eastern premieres and 32 Gulf premieres, numerous celebrity guests and industry delegates from around the world, DIFF has yet again reasserted its eminence as the region’s leading film event.

And tonight, the Festival bows out in style with a lavish Awards ceremony at the Bab al Shams desert resort, at which 34 winners of a prestigious Muhr Award will finally be announced, as will the Human Rights Network and Damas People’s Choice Awards.

Over the past six editions of DIFF, the in-competition programme has been highlighting films from Arab, Asian and African filmmakers, in a pioneering move to give cinema from these territories a prominent platform in the Gulf. And this year, DIFF launched a new category – Muhr Emirati – in order to cater for the booming local production scene in the UAE.

‘The Muhr Awards are a tangible accomplishment of our founding objective to promote regional filmmaking talent,’ says Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director. The competitions feature cash prizes in the categories of Feature, Documentary and Short films, and generate publicity for emerging and established filmmakers from across the Arab world and beyond.’

The Muhr Awards are awarded in three segments. The Muhr Arab Awards honouring the finest features, documentaries and short films from across the Arab world; the Muhr AsiaAfrica Awards for the best in cinema from Asia and Africa, and new for 2010, the Muhr Awards for Emirati filmmakers, introduced this year, to recognise UAE-based filmmaking talent.

In total, the Awards will disburse USD600,000 to winning filmmakers. Entries towards the Muhr Arab competition are also eligible for the Prize of the International Critics offered by the prestigious International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), a DIFF partner. The FIPRESCI awards were announced on Friday.

‘As the in-competition segment of DIFF, the Muhr Awards bring to international spotlight the competencies and skill-sets of filmmakers in the Arab world, Asia and Africa. Several Muhr Award winners, over the years, have gone to win global acclaim,’ says Al Ali.

Over a colourful, action-packed week in which we encountered new films and talents from across the world, the Muhr Awards represent the spirit of achievement and ambition shown by all of DIFF’s filmmakers. And given the ever-increasing calibre of the submissions, the Muhr Awards perfectly sum up the excitement, dynamism and discovery that have fuelled this memorable week. We hope you’ve had a great time – see you next year!

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