Pioneering initiatives position DIFF 2009 as ‘region’s leading festival’

Sun Dec 06,2009

An unmatched array of initiatives to strengthen industry support and community participation has positioned the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2009 as the leading festival of the region. Talent development, through focused industry panel sessions, is one of the focal areas of the festival this year.

DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya said that over the past five editions, the festival has more than doubled in terms of countries represented, audience participation and industry registration.

“However, what truly makes a difference is the bonding that DIFF has forged with the local community as well as regional filmmakers,” she said. “We have rolled out several initiatives to further involve Dubai residents and visitors in the varied activities of DIFF. From an industry perspective, DIFF 2009 hosts a range of master classes, case studies and panel session for exchanging ideas, skills, knowledge and expertise”

DIFF 2009 is consolidating industry Initiatives in the area of talent development within The Exchange, a place for aspiring filmmakers and film professionals to meet and network with their peers.

Some of the scheduled panels include: Vive Le Cinema, co-producing Fiction Features with France; Against the Odds - a case study of filmmaking in Palestine; Variety-DIFF Spotlight for filmmakers and producers in the Arab world; Screenwriting Workshop in association with the TorinoFilmLab; the DIFF Young Journalist Award in association with MBC and Funding in the Middle East.

Driving the festival forward is an array of tech-savvy initiatives that will appeal to the youth and significantly enhance the convenience of the movie-loving public in keeping up-to-the-minute with DIFF schedules.

In addition to the dedicated website (, relaying latest information throughout the festival, DIFF has a dedicated Youtube channel (, Photobucket album rich with photographs ( and vibrant Facebook community (Dubai International Film Festival 2009). The festival has also garnered a loyal Twitter (@diff2009) following, thus generating a never-before online buzz this year. The media can access all DIFF news and views at a dedicated website (

DIFF has unveiled an industry-leading initiative that provides mobile phone users the opportunity to keep up-to-the-minute with the festival programme and schedules through a new software download. The new mobile application enables users to access the entire programming of the festival and schedule updates on-the-go, without having to stay connected all the time.

The DIFF Box Office has opened reporting brisk sales already for the festival of films, music-driven Rhythm & Reels events, charity galas, red carpet screenings, open air Screen on the Green shows and celebrity spotting. Tickets can be bought at Box Office counters in Dubai Media City CNN Building Lobby (closed on public holidays), First Group Theatre at Madinat Souq and Cinestar Mall of the Emirates. All screenings of DIFF 2009 will be held at Madinat Arena, First Group Theatre Madinat Jumeirah, Cinestar Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.

Movie-lovers can make informed decisions about their choice of films by picking up DIFF Festival Guides provided for free at all the Box Office counters. To further add to the convenience of film-lovers to make informed and easy choices, DIFF has showcased a selection of movies in six packages – The Cultural Bridge, Discovering Documentaries, The Family Pic, The Comedy Club, Global Nomad and Cutting Edge.

Among the key community initiatives of DIFF are the Young Journalist Award for students in association with MBC, the painting competition for children, and Acting for Camera workshops for school students. DIFF will also honour the winners of the Movies in Motion, two-minute movie contest organised in association with MBC.

DIFF 2009 has further strengthened its industry quotient with a formidable showcase of over 300 films from the Arab world, Asia and Africa at the Dubai Film Market, a forum for clinching potential trade and distribution deals. The festival’s seed fund for promising filmmakers and co-production market, Dubai Film Connection has gained 127 submissions this year from 20 countries. The winner of the 2009 Desert Door DIFF Work in Progress Award Michel Khleifi’s Zindeeq will have its world premiere at the Festival in the Muhr Arabic Features category.

In conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film, DIFF has also published Focus 2009, an analytical overview of the state of the Industry in the region. In another leading industry initiative, DIFF has joined hands with European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE), one of Europe’s leading training and development organisations, to offer professional coaching for producers. This year, DIFF has received support from MEDIA International, for ‘Interchange,’ its co-production initiative with Torino Film Lab and European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE). MEDIA International is an initiative of MEDIA, the EU support programme for the European audiovisual industry.

DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

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