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Muhr Submissions

Rules & Regulations

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is the leading film festival in the region. Since its inception in 2004, the festival has served as an influential platform for Arab filmmakers and talent at an international level, by spearheading the cinema movement in the region.

Submissions for the 11th edition of The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) which will take place from December 10 – 17, 2014 are now open.

If you wish to have your film considered for DIFF 2014 please read the following rules and regulations before submitting a film for our consideration.

The 2014 edition of DIFF will present the following sections. Please note DIFF is only accepting submissions for its Muhr Awards. 
Programming decisions are made at the discretion of the programming team.

Muhr Awards

DIFF’s heavily contested competition for feature fiction and non-fiction; and short films originating from the United Arab Emirates and the Arab world will compete for the prestigious Muhr Awards.

  • Best Muhr Fiction Feature - AED 200,000 where the cash prize will be awarded to the director(s) of the film.
  • Best Muhr non-Fiction Feature - AED 100,000 where the cash prize will be awarded to the director(s) of the film.
  • Best Muhr Short – AED 50,000 where the cash prize will be awarded to the director(s) of the film.
  • Best Emirati Film – AED 50,000 where the cash prize will be awarded to the director(s) of the film.
  • Eligibility for People’s Choice Award: All feature films selected in DIFF Programme, will be eligible for the People’s Choice Award.

General Eligibility

  •  Films must have been produced after September 1, 2013.
  •  Films must not have been screened in the Gulf region for any audiences before the 11th edition of DIFF. Exceptions maybe applied on case-by-case basis for out of competition sections.
  •  Films must not have been entirely or partially broadcasted and/or made available on television, the internet, mobile phones and/or any other public viewing platform until  the 11th edition of DIFF closes.
  •  Films that have been submitted to earlier editions of DIFF will not be considered unless substantial changes have been made since the initial submission.

Eligibility – Muhr Feature and Shorts Awards

  •  Films must be directed by a filmmaker of Arab nationality or origin as defined in Appendix 1.
  •  The subject and storyline of the films should be centered on the Arab world, Arab history and/or Arab culture.

Features: Films must be a work of fiction that equals or exceeds 60 minutes in duration or non-fiction duration equals or exceeds 52 minutes in duration.
Shorts: Films can be a work of fiction that does not exceed 59 minutes in duration, or non-fiction that does not exceed 51 minutes in duration.

Eligibility – Muhr Emirati Awards

  • Films must be directed by a UAE national filmmaker.
  • Films can be a work of feature, documentary or short with no specific guidelines on the subject and storyline.

Selection Committee and Jury

DIFF programming team will review all submissions. The committee will have the final decision on whether the film will be part of the official Muhr Awards or Out-of-Competition selections irrespective of the category it has been submitted into.

Muhr Awards Jury: DIFF will solely appoint two separate juries from the international community to decide on prize winners for the Muhr Awards. The jury for the Muhr Feature section will comprise of five members and the jury for the Muhr Shorts and Muhr Emirati will comprise of three members.

Awards and Prize Money

The Muhr prizes awarded will be as follows: 

  • Best Muhr Fiction Feature - a cash prize will be awarded to the director (s) of the film.
  • Best Muhr non-Fiction Feature - a cash prize will be awarded to the director (s) of the film.
  • Best Muhr Short – a cash prize will be awarded to the director (s) of the film.
  • Best Emirati Film – a cash prize will be awarded to the director (s) of the film.

Eligibility for People’s Choice Award: All feature films selected in DIFF Programme, will be eligible for the People’s Choice Award.


Deadlines: Entries of online submission forms and film screeners must be submitted by September 25th, 2014 by completing the online submission form in both Arabic and/or English (if applicable) prior to sending a screener whether as a private screening link or a DVD of the film.

Any submissions received after the above deadline will not be accepted.

If the original version of the film is not in English, the screener must be subtitled in English.

If you are submitting a ‘work-in-progress’ film please ensure that this is clearly stated on the submission form with the final title of the film and not the working title. For the avoidance of doubt, all other terms related to submissions shall be herein applicable.

Submission Shipping: All shipping costs of the screener and/or material, if applicable must be covered by the submitter/sender (it is recommended to use a courier for shipping submissions as regular post does not guarantee any expected arrival).

Please note it is not possible for DIFF to return any screeners sent to us through open submissions.

All screeners should be sent directly to the below address with “For Cultural Use Only” and “Without Commercial Value” clearly marked on the envelope.

Dubai International Film Festival
Dubai Media City, CNN Building
1st floor - Management Office
(P.O. Box 502600)
Dubai, 502600 - United Arab Emirates
Attention: Submissions Manager
RE: [film name], [online submission ID #]
Tel: +971 4 433 5259 Fax: +971 4 367 2892
Email: DIFFsubmissions@filmfest.ae

Note: remove the P.O. Box number if your courier company will only deliver to a street address.

DIFF retains the right to keep all online submissions forms as well as screeners for its internal use only. DIFF reserves the right to download and/or digitize the screeners (private link and DVDs) and transfer the screeners to a master hard drive digital library, building a digital reference archive (“DIFF Permanent Digital Library”). DIFF will not theatrically or publicly screen for commercial purposes any films without the express written consent of the appropriate rights holder(s).

The screeners whether downloaded or digitized are shared with the relevant selection committee for viewing and assessment via an internal secured platform only made available by restricted access provided by DIFF only to the members of the selection committees.

If you have any queries about film submissions, please email the DIFF team: DIFFsubmissions@filmfest.ae

Selected Films

The relevant selection committee will at its own discretion select the films for DIFF Muhr Awards or out-of-competition.

If a film is selected for the Muhr Awards or out-of-competition, DIFF will send an official selection letter during the first half of November 2014 and will advise of further requirements and next steps.

DIFF hereby reserves the first right to announce the list of films included in its final line-up. All those associated with the film selected shall in no case, prior to the announcement by DIFF, publicly confirm that the film is part of DIFF.

DIFF’s full programme will be announced by the end of November 2014.

If a film has not been selected, DIFF will inform the submitter by letter within one week of the announcement of the DIFF programme.
It is DIFF’s policy not to offer comments or reasons for films not selected for the programme.

Once a film is selected, the submitter will not be able to withdraw or change the Premiere status of the film at any given time before it is screened at DIFF.

Screenings & Scheduling: Selected films will be screened up to two times to DIFF’s public audiences. At the discretion of DIFF, the film may be screened prior to DIFF an additional time for accredited press, jury and industry members. DIFF will at its sole discretion decide on the dates and order of the screening(s) of each film.

Final Screening Material:
The final screening copy of the film can only be submitted in one of the following formats:

  • 35mm print;
  • Movie files: Apple pro res LT, Apple pro res HQ, Apple pro res 422, H264
  • DCP* or protected link.

It is DIFF’s general policy to screen all non-English and non-Arabic language films in their original language version with English subtitles.

Selected films should be submitted with a high resolution copy of the trailer of the film used for promotional purposes. DIFF shall be entitled without prior notice to use the trailer online and on broadcast TV for periods of time to be solely decided by DIFF.

The screening copy of the film must be received in good condition and DIFF reserves the right to refuse screening copies if found to be not in good condition and request the submitter to re-submit a new copy. In the event that the submitter fails to submit a screening copy suitable for screening and in good condition, DIFF reserves the right to cancel the selection of the film without any liability whatsoever.

Print Shipping: Shipping costs to and from DIFF’s premises will be incurred by DIFF. DIFF will return the screening copy at the end of DIFF.

Print Insurance: Prints of all films selected for DIFF will be insured throughout the period in which they are in DIFF’s custody. In the case of loss or damage during DIFF, DIFF will be responsible only for the replacement value of the print, if the said print was originally received by DIFF in good condition.

Additional Terms

In the event that the submitter is found to be in violation of any condition of the rules and regulations, DIFF at its sole discretion may choose to cancel and eliminate such film from the selection or the final lineup of DIFF.

Censorship: No editorial cuts or changes to any film will be made at any time by DIFF for any reason or under any circumstances.

Anti-Piracy Precautions: DIFF undertakes to take all possible anti-piracy precautions. All prints and associated copyrighted materials will be securely stored while on DIFF premises. Access is limited to DIFF’s nominated staff only and all movement of prints will be strictly monitored. No duplication or loaning is permitted and no prints will ever leave the custody and care of DIFF or its authorized agents during DIFF.

Promotional Material: All DIFF selected films including Muhr Awards winners undertake to include, in a clear and visible manner, on the Home Video release of their film (i.e. DVD, Blu Ray, online availability) and on any and all promotional material (including but not limited to posters, banners, EPK’s, website) a specific logo to be provided by DIFF.

Screener(s): DIFF will make a digitized copy of the final subtitled screener of the film for media screening purposes. For the avoidance of doubt, said digitized copy will only be viewed by media accredited delegates during the period of DIFF and on a closed internal circuit. The digitization process is secure and no copy or duplication of the film can be made by third parties.

Acknowledgement and Undertaking

Submission and participation in the DIFF Programme implies acceptance of all the rules and regulations.

The submitter hereby represents and warrants that he/she holds all rights in and to the film and its related materials and that he/she has the authority and capacity to submit the film and its related material for the DIFF Programme.

Except as stated in the rules and regulations, the submitter acknowledges that DIFF shall not be held liable or responsible in any manner whatsoever for any loss or damage of whatever type or nature incurred as a result of the submission, acceptance and/or screening of the film and/or its related material. Furthermore, the submitter undertakes to indemnify and keep DIFF indemnified against all liabilities, claims, demands, actions, costs, damages or loss arising out of the submission, acceptance and/or screening of the film and/or its related material.

The submitter also understands and acknowledges that the online submission form and the present rules and regulations form a consolidated and unified document and that therefore the online submission form shall be considered as incorporated herein by reference.

Arab Nationality or Origin shall mean people from one or more of the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.