Deputy Director General, Film & Entertainment Division
Abdulhamid Juma was part of the initial team that founded the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in 2004, and was appointed Chairman in 2006. His involvement with independent Arab and GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) cinema led to his becoming a driving force behind the Gulf Film Festival, an annual event that showcases the best in regional cinema to a local and international audience.
Chairman – Dubai International Film Festival
His work towards stimulating Arab Cinema led to his being named the third most influential figure in Arab Cinema today by Good News Group, and he is well-known in film and culture circles in the Arab world as being a prominent supporter, critic, friend and enthusiast. In helping to establish DIFF as the world-class event it is today, Abdulhamid was guided by the belief that through the language of film and art, cultural divides could be narrowed and bridged with tolerance and understanding.
From his ongoing personal pursuit of diverse international cultural trends, he possesses an eclectic taste in cinema, incorporating varied genres, languages and styles, blending with his interest in music, poetry, sculpture, painting and other art forms. His business insight has been as central to his success as his cultural outlook.
Through a clear vision that focuses on innovation, business and financial development and cultural progression working in line with the strategic objectives of the government of Dubai, Abdulhamid sits on the board of Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), the official media organization of the government of Dubai, the board of The Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication (MBRSC), part of the American University of Dubai and the first academic institution in the region to offer world-class and specialized undergraduate courses in various communication fields.
In addition, he serves on the advisory board of several organizations: including the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority lending counsel on cultural projects in the Emirates in his efforts to stimulate a thriving arts culture in the UAE. Also the National Media Council (NMC), working towards the shared goal of reaching international standards in the field of media regulation to achieve the highest degree of transparency and excellence in the UAE and The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) Advisory Council ensuring that Emirati students are fully equipped and to the highest standards to enter into the country’s workforce. In his capacity as DIFF Chairman, Abdulhamid is also the Deputy Director General of Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA), with the responsibility of generating a thriving knowledge economy in Dubai. His involvement grew out of an earlier assignment as Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Media City (DMC).
His previous assignments include senior management positions at Dubai Internet City, Citibank Group and Jebel Ali Free Zone. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a certificate in General Management from Harvard Business School.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali
As Artistic Director of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), Masoud curates all Festival programming, overseeing the feature films, documentaries and shorts selected for the Arab and international sections. He also oversees the Festival’s competitive Muhr Emirati and Muhr Arab Awards.
Masoud has been closely involved with DIFF since its inception. In its early years, he was responsible for its Arabic programming, including the popular Arabian Nights section and UAE-focused Emerging Emiratis, which has since evolved into a pan-Gulf showcase. His dedication to the region’s talent led Masoud to found the Emirates Film Competition in 2001. The UAE’s first showcase for local film talent, the annual competition is widely recognized as a turning point for Gulf cinema and a critical launch pad for its talent.
Today, Masoud also serves as director of its successor entity, the Gulf Film Festival. A lifelong creative, the Emirati national first emerged into the public spotlight with his passion for poetry. After moving into filmmaking as a visual exploration of the written word, he produced his first short films and documentaries in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His wealth of film knowledge, first-hand experience in writing, directing and producing films, and passion for encouraging talent from the region makes Masoud one of the defining voices and leading mentors of contemporary Arab cinema.
A graduate of UAE University, Masoud was previously employed as artistic director for the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation.
Shivani Pandya, Managing Director of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), holds the mandate to direct strategic and operational aspects of the Festival. She has been with the Festival since its inception, working closely with all departments to deliver an event that appeals to the cross section of audiences living in Dubai and the UAE while attracting global attention and appreciation.
Her business insights clubbed with her approach towards enhancing the rapidly evolving film community in the UAE have been central to her success. Shivani is credited with contributing to the development of strategic direction for nurturing the local film industry and establishing Dubai’s position amongst the international film community.
Shivani has been instrumental in the launch of key strategic initiatives at the Festival including The Dubai Film Market and bringing charitable organizations such as amfAR Cinema against AIDS and Oxfam to Dubai.
Her leadership with the Festival grew out of an earlier assignment within the Business Development team at the Dubai Media City. During her tenure at DMC, she established the media cluster’s broadcasting department, and facilitated the addition of international broadcasters under the DMC umbrella. Shivani holds a Baccalaureate Honours degree in Economics from Delhi University and a Masters in Marketing and Communications from the Xavier’s Institute of Communication in Mumbai, India.
Executive Director Operations
Part of the DIFF team since the inception in 2004, Mahsa Motamedi oversees the entire marketing strategy and integrated communications, developing and promoting the Festival’s vision and mission and ensuring that DIFF is a forerunner in new initiatives. She guides the Festival’s strategic advertising and PR campaigns, aimed at connecting DIFF to its target audiences, which includes traditional and new media activity, at home and abroad, positioning the Festival globally and engaging with the UAE’s diverse communities.
Committed to driving the festival forward as the most definitive film event in the region, Mahsa conceptualises and leads an extensive community outreach and audience development programme that targets all cross-sections of the society. She continues to drive the relationship with the Festival’s sponsors and strengthens its stable of high-profile supporters from diverse industries, enhancing the portfolio year on year.
Mahsa previously spent five years building the brand value of Dubai Media City, one of the city’s most prestigious economic clusters. Her accomplishments include the annual IBDA’A Awards for student media, which has mushroomed into one of the most popular competitions in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region. Mahsa’s career in communications spans two continents, beginning with advertising in London and growing into progressively larger roles in marketing and communications in the UAE.
Director of Human Resources & Administration
Mohammed Alhousani joined the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in 2008 as Senior Manager for Human Resources & Administration. Mohammed manages the overall provision of Human Resources services, policies, and programs for the entire company. He is responsible for ensuring internal policies and procedures are aligned to international best practices, recruiting and staffing, performance management, employee relations, employee orientation, development, and training and employee safety and wellness. In addition to the all year round permanent staff at DIFF, he has recruited and managed over 250 temporary staff and 700 volunteers who join the Festival annually.
Prior to joining DIFF Mohammed worked for TECOM as a Human Resources Advisor and Dubai Customs as a Recruitment Officer. He is a graduate of the UAE’s Higher College of Technology.