Dubai Media City Announces Presenting Sponsors for inaugural Dubai Film Fest

Sat Oct 02,2004

Dubai Media City today announced the three presenting sponsors of the upcoming Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) - Emirates Airlines, Jumeirah International and Nakheel – at a press conference held today. The Film Festival’s impressive programming team was also introduced to the press community at the event.

The Festival Chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “I am very pleased that the sponsors are generously supporting this important film festival. They will play a crucial role in the Festival, and their commitment and participation are key to our plans for long-term growth. Their support will contribute immensely to the success of this event. I am also happy to have such a powerful team of programmers for the festival. We realize that the programmers are a critical component in the success of any aspiring international film festival and we have searched around the world to bring the best to Dubai.”

Gerald Lawless, the Managing Director of Jumeirah International, commented: “Jumeirah International is delighted that Madinat Jumeirah, The Arabian Resort Dubai will be the host venue of the first Dubai International Film Festival. We are pleased that we have been able to support this important initiative, and we look forward to a tremendously successful festival in December”.

Dermot Mannion, the President of Group Services at Emirates Airlines said, “We are very happy to be associated with this prestigious new event which we feel will make an important contribution to the cultural development of Dubai and the country.”

Wahid Attalla, Executive Director, Commercial and Operations at Nakheel remarked, “We are delighted to be the sponsors of this prestigious festival that will put Dubai on the international film circuit map. Nakheel is contributing to the development of Dubai into a cosmopolitan city by nurturing arts and faculties of its citizens, through endorsing such cultural events like The Dubai International Film Festival. We at Nakheel share the vision of this event to be one of the most important festivals on the International film industry calendar.”

Abdulhamid Juma, CEO of Dubai Media City said: “Emirates Airlines, Jumeirah International and Nakheel three organisations have played a leading role in developing Dubai as one of the world’s major business and tourism destinations and we are glad to have them as the festival’s Presenting Sponsors.” Talking about the programming team, he said: “The contributions of the programmers have been behind the success of several other international film festivals. We are confident that the expertise of our programmers will help raise the profile of the festival and will provide a rich and unique experience for our audiences.”

The programming team is comprised of Masoud Amralla Al Ali, a highly respected member of the film community and generally regarded as one of the region’s foremost experts on Arab cinema, Noah Cowan, recently appointed Co-Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the top film festivals in the world, Uma da Cunha, a distinguished film journalist, writer and researcher whose name is closely linked with Bollywood, Hannah Fisher, Asian Programmer for the Montreal World Film Festival as well as International Programmer for the Kolkata and Kerala International Film Festivals, Lucia Rikaki, film director, producer and film festival administrator, member of the Greek Ministry of Culture Advisory Board on Cinema and currently the artistic director of the EcoCinema Festival, Sheila Whitaker, director of the London Film Festival until 1996 and currently on the programming commission of the Locarno Film Festival, Antonia Carver, former deputy editor of Time Out Magazine in Dubai, and currently programming adviser and consultant to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Tony Sloman, recognized internationally as one of the world’s leading cineastes, he served as an elected Governor of the British Film Institute and holds a life membership of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Mohamed Maklouf, filmmaker and film journalist Founder and Executive Director of the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival, Claudia Landsberger, one of Europe’s most distinguished film professionals, co-founder and President of the European Film Promotion, member of the selection committee for the Competition of the Berlin International Film Festival. The team will be making the selections for the ten different programs of the festival.

The Festival Director and CEO, Neil Stephenson, commented: “The internationally diverse programming team will help further the festival’s mission of promoting inter-cultural dialogue. I am confident that they will assist our festival in quickly gaining international recognition and growing into an important event on the international festival calendar.”

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. These films will be shown through 10 distinct programs.

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