Wed Nov 14,2007

Dubai, November 14, 2007: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today introduced its new initiative, ‘The Scene: Your UAE Film Network,’ a series of monthly screenings at the DUCTAC auditorium at Mall of the Emirates, facilitated by UAE National filmmaker Nayla al Khaja. The first screening will be held November 30, and will showcase three award-winning films by Arab filmmakers.

The series is dedicated to films that have not been commercially released in the UAE.  Director and producer al Khaja, whose short film Arabana formed part of the Emerging Emiratis programme at DIFF 2006, will facilitate panel discussions and question and answer sessions with the filmmakers and industry guests.

“We know from the massive public response to DIFF that audiences in the Emirates are hungry for lesser-known films that may not necessarily reach commercial cinemas,” said Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of DIFF. “We are happy to support the The Scene’s screening series, and are confident that it will expose viewers to new tastes and to a filmmaking community that deserves recognition for its immense talent and vitality.”

The November 30 screening will feature Ahmed Suliman, a short documentary by Waleed Al Shehhi that screened at DIFF 2006; VHS - Kahloucha, a documentary by Néjib Belkadhi that follows a Tunisian house painter turned amateur filmmaker; and Bawke, a fictional short about a fugitive father and son by Hisham Zaman that has garnered 29 awards at festivals around the world.

Nayla al Khaja was particularly enthusiastic about the involvement of local filmmakers: “The value of this kind of recognition and encouragement for young artists cannot be overstated. Being able to discuss your work with an audience and to experience them watching your work is very special. I’m proud to introduce audiences to the films that I love, and I know that The Scene will be very popular.”

Shivani Pandya, DIFF’s Managing Director, highlighted the long-term benefit to culture and the arts in Dubai: “DIFF has fostered a growing appetite for cinema in Dubai, and we are committed to supporting year round film activities throughout the community, with a number of initiatives still in the works. The Scene will deepen appreciation for the arts, contributing to the evolution of the rich cultural fabric of Dubai.”


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