Dubai International Film Festival launched regionally from CAIRO

Sun Oct 10,2004

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) was launched in the region today in a special ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel gathering members of the Egyptian film industry. The event included a special tribute to Egyptian cinema personified in two Egyptian movie legends, Omar Sharif and Daoud Abdel Sayed.

At the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Media City, Mr. Abdulhamid Juma, and Mohammed Maklouf, Founder and Executive Director of the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival and Chief Programmer of the Arabian Shorts sidebar of the Festival commented on the official program of the Festival.

The event celebrated the importance of culture and of film in particular in promoting cultural dialogue and exchange. Built around the central theme of Building Cultural Bridges, the Dubai International Film Festival aims to be a forum for inter-cultural conversation through the work of filmmakers. The DIFF has already been presented at the Cannes Film Festival and during the Toronto International Film Festival and will make a final stop in Mumbai, India after its visit to CAIRO, before opening its doors on December 6th, 2004.

‘The festival’s theme of cultural understanding has touched a chord with filmmakers and artists across the globe at a time when it is more crucial than ever to build cultural bridges. In a world of globalization, there is a particular need for cultures to communicate openly in order to pave the way for understanding’ said Juma.

‘We believe that Dubai is an ideal venue for a film festival and for the film industry, as it is a city that values dialogue, openness, tolerance and creativity.  Given its historic role as a multicultural crossroads, Dubai hopes to be an enchanting new addition to the global film festival circuit,’ continued Juma. ‘Our objective is that our efforts will raise awareness not just about the film festival but also about the potential of Dubai in the eyes of the international film industry.’

Mohamed Maklouf said, “Presenting the festival in CAIRO is the ideal way to announce the special tribute that we will pay to Egypt as the cultural capital of Arab film; personified by Omar Sharif and Daoud Abdel Sayed. It is also a chance for us to learn; we believe in the power of our joint efforts to position the Middle East in a different light, as a place with a rich history of art and culture. We want to focus on what we can do together to make this a better world through the medium of film.”

The Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 6 and 11, 2004 and will feature approximately 80 films which will include 55 features, as well as retrospective and short films. The Festival will have an international vocation but will have at its heart a strong focus on Arab cinema. Out of 80 films, a total of 30 will be Arab, the largest percentage of any one type of cinema in the festival.

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