Tue Feb 04,2014

The key film establishments from the UAE debut this week at The Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, the world’s premier cinema event in France dedicated to short films to further promote and support Arab film and talent to the world. The prestigious festival, now in its 36th year, is a vital showcase and marketplace for shorts, attracting upwards of 100,000 visitors annually for its film festival and marketplace.

The Dubai International Film Festival, Gulf Film Festival, Filmi, twofour54,  the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Film Commission, powered by twofour54, will join forces via a dedicated UAE pavilion to showcase the country’s short films on an international stage, meet with industry professionals and production companies to generate business opportunities, promote the UAE’s diverse offerings to the film industry and attract international filmmakers to present their work at the UAE’s film festivals. In addition, Qatar’s Doha Film Institute will join the UAE as the only countries represented at the Festival’s market from the Arab world.
Samr Husain Al Marzooqi, Dubai Film Market Manager said: “Following the success of the UAE Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival last year we are thrilled to be collaborating once again at The Clermont-Ferrand, arguably the world’s leading festival devoted to short films. Being part of the festival’s market gives us the chance to showcase the best of UAE short films, which indeed have risen in quality, quantity and global distribution through prestigious film festivals. Following the largest and most successful Dubai International Film Festival to date, this is an excellent platform to promote DIFF and GFF and support regional filmmakers further build their networks within the film industry”.

The Dubai Film Market, the leading industry platform for Arab cinema has supported over 240 films since 2007, most recently Oscar nominee “Omar” by Hany Abu Assad which was co-funded by DIFF’s post-production fund Enjaaz. DIFF and GFF provide a showcase for filmmakers’ work, as well as providing the training, funding and connections they need to grow. In addition DIFF’s pioneering initiatives such as the Muhr Awards have enriched professional experiences in the region, while also raising the profile of regional works on the world stage. At the 10th edition of DIFF, the line-up of films from the UAE competing in the Muhr Emirati category grew by 50%, reflecting a significant increase in submissions from strong first-time filmmakers which reconfirms the growing confidence and skill in local artists who have benefited from training facilities and funding opportunities available.

In line with the country’s vision to support and provide greater exposure to regional talent within the international film scene, filmmakers Mohamed Hasan Ahmed, Mohammad Fikree, and from Saudi Arabia Malak Quota, the delegation also includes the Gulf Cinema Festival consultant, critic, and programmer Salah Sarmini.

Abdul Aziz Al Najjar, Executive Director of Filmi said: “ ‘Filmi’ is a project that aims to attract the talented Emirati filmmakers and gives them as well the opportunity to participate in international film festivals to showcase the national projects reflecting the social values in the Emirati society’s culture. The presence of Filmi in Clermont-Ferrand confirms our commitment to Filmi’s mission in supporting and developing promising and creative talents, which has the ambition and determination to succeed in the field of filmmaking worldwide”.

twofour54 develops local talent and exposes them to international audiences by supporting their participation in international events. twofour54 creative lab is supporting the attendance of Amal Al Agroobi, the director and producer of the documentary Brain that Sings - winner of the best audience award in DIFF 2013, and from Saudi Arabia Malak Quota, the director of With Time - winner of second place in the short narrative competition at ADFF 2013.
Other successful films supported by the twofour54 creative lab that will be screened at the Short Film Market include Murk Light, directed by Yasir Al Yasiri - first prize short film narrative competition in ADFF 2012 and selection at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 New York, Feeding Five Hundred, directed by Rafed Al Harthi - winner of ADFF’s documentary competition in 2013 and recipient of the special mention at Encounters Short Film Festival, in Bristol, and Tooth of Hope, directed by Nizar Sfair.
Due to the success of twofour54 supported films, a total of 22 films entered the festival circuit and265 in the festival selection in the MENA region and internationally, also winning a total of 38 awards.
Khalid Khouri, Head of ibtikar Commercial, said: “International festivals such as this are an excellent opportunity for filmmakers who are supported by twofour54. Participating in international festivals focuses on developing talent and gaining experience in major industry events all over the world. This is a fantastic place to market films from the UAE to distributers and other festivals as it’s a gateway to opportunities abroad.”
From left to right [please refer to attached image]:
Mohamed Hassan Ahmed - Filmi
Adel Al Jabri - ADFF
Mohamed Fikri - Filmmaker
Samr Al Marzooqi - DIFF
Waheeda Alhadrami - twofour54
Malak Quota - Filmmaker
Alwiya Thani - Image Nation
Khalid Khouri - twofour54
Amal Al Agroobi - Filmmaker

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