Dubai Film Festival Reports Strong Ticket Sales As Fans Flock to Website, Box Office Venues

Wed Dec 07,2005

Dubai, December 07, 2005 – Tickets to the top films in the upcoming Dubai International Film Festival are selling fast, with more than 10 screenings reaching standby-only status within days of the Festival Box Office opening. Advance tickets to all six of the Festival’s nightly gala screenings – opener Paradise Now, Cannes winner L’Enfant (The Child), Indo-Canadian drama Water, contemporary detective thriller Edison, South African award-winner Carmen in Khayelitsha (U-Carmen eKhayelitsha) and Festival finale Joyeux Noel – are fully subscribed, Festival Box Office & Customer Services Manager Dan Butkovich said. The gala screening of Water, Deepa Mehta’s controversial drama about the fate of widows in India, earned the distinction of being the first DIFF 2005 screening to earn standby-only status. Its advance tickets closed within six hours of the box office opening, with the second screening moving to standby status within 36 hours. In addition, the first screenings of Consequences of Love, one of the best Italian films of recent years, psycho-political drama Massaker; lighthearted musical West Bank Story and contemporary documentary Being Osama have crossed into standby-only territory; along with the second screening of Paradise Now. All Festival films are being screened at least twice, with some films scheduled for three showings. Close to 33% of all DIFF ticket sales are taking place over the Festival website, Butkovich added, with walk-up traffic to the DIFF box office locations accounting for 42% and phone sales making up the remaining 25%. “The industry standard for ticket sales over the Internet in North America is 20% to 25%, so we are very encouraged by the volume of sales generated by the DIFF website,” he said. “It is by far the fastest way to place an order for DIFF tickets as there are no queues and people can order from the convenience of their homes and offices.” Thus far, buying patterns are spread across the Festival program, with equal interest in the international and regional films and across the different sections. “The sales spread has been very positive,” Butkovich said. “People are certainly taking on a broad range of films, and we are very pleased to see that. This Festival is about uniting people and cultures through film, and from what the numbers suggest, that message is taking hold. DIFF is truly an opportunity to see films you would not otherwise be able to see.” Although advance tickets to some screenings may no longer be available, Butkovich said, there is still an excellent chance that standby seats will be available on the screening date. Standby tickets will be available for all films except the opening invitation only Gala, and will be distributed to the standby queue 5-10 minutes prior to screening time at the screening venues, he explained. Festival-goers are advised to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to screening time to access these tickets on a first come, first served basis. “I would really encourage people to get onto the standby queues if the advance tickets for a particular screening are no longer available,” Butkovich said. “Don’t stay away from these films if there is something you really want to see.” All Festival films will start promptly and advance ticket holders are advised to arrive at the theatres at least 15 minutes before the screening and allow enough time for traffic and parking at all venues. As a show of respect to the filmmakers and Festival guests in attendance, there will be no admittance after the scheduled start time of any screening. The second Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 11 and 17, 2005, and will feature 98 films including features, retrospectives and short films. DIFF 2005 is divided into 12 distinct programs - including five brand new sections - each focusing on a particular category of film. Tickets to DIFF 2005 are priced at Dhs. 50 for gala screenings and Dh. 20 for regular screenings. A special ‘Six Tix’ deal offers six tickets for the price of five. Screenings at the Dubai Media City open-air amphitheatre are free. All tickets are available at Festival Box Offices in the Madinat Theatre at Souq Madinat Jumeirah, in the lobby of Building 2 at Dubai Media City, and at CineStar Cinemas at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre. Tickets, and an entire schedule of the Festival films, are also available through the Dubai Film Festival website The DIFF Call Centre (04-367-6701) is also manned by trained DIFF customer service agents with full access to program and schedule information, Festival guests and news. The call centre can also process secure, real-time ticket ordering with tickets available for pickup at any DIFF Box Office location. The Festival is presented by its Founding Sponsors Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Properties, Emirates, Etisalat and the Madinat Jumeirah – the Arabian Resort. The Festival’s Gold Sponsors are Bin Hendi Enterprises, National Bank of Dubai, Showtime, The Kanoo Group and The Palm Jumeirah; the Silver Sponsors are Filmworks, Motivate Publishing and Sony.

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