Tue Jul 22,2008

BAFTA last week celebrated the diversity, depth and reach of Arab cinema during the well received event ‘Bafta Goes to the Arab World’. The event was held in association with the Dubai International Film Festival. DIFF’s support of the event was aimed at emphasizing its commitment to promoting the production and proliferation of Arab cinema. Serving as the highlight of the four-day London event was the panel discussion on ’Filming in the Middle East’ at which Shivani Pandya, Managing Director of the Dubai International Film Festival spoke.

The discussion drew broad-ranging perspectives from industry professional on the benefits of filming in the Arab world, particularly in Tunisia, Jordan, the UAE and Morocco. Chaired by Ali Jaafar, Variety magazine’s Europe and Middle East Correspondent, other panelists included Amin Matalqa, Director of award winning film Captain Abu Raed, Philippe Aractingi, Director and Producer of Under the Bombs, Ibrahim Al-Batout Director of Eye of the Sun, Mohammed Al Daradji Director of Ahlaam and George David, Deputy General Manager of the Royal Film Commission Jordan.

Ms. Pandya said: “This event has allowed us to showcase to a new audience, the exciting new cinematic dimensions of Arab cinema and the innovative industry opportunities emerging in this part of the world.

“Since its establishment, DIFF has been at the forefront of events that contribute to the growth of regional cinema and indigenous talent. Simultaneously, we have successfully placed Dubai on the global centre-stage through building bridges with cultures and communities worldwide and attracting international pools of talent. “

Ms. Pandya also touched on the importance of filmmaking in the UAE and of DIFF as a platform for filmmakers. The festival not only showcases top class films but also actively promotes film production in the region through its association with Dubai Studio City (DSC) and the Location Approval Services (LAS) which has helped attract international filmmaking talent to Dubai and in doing so furthered its position as a hub for global film production.

DIFF is one of the most anticipated annual cultural events in Dubai bringing the best in International and Arab cinema to film lovers in the region. The fifth edition of DIFF to be held December 11 to 18, 2008, promises to continue premiering films of excellence and also host innovative events celebrating the magic of cinema.

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