News

DIFF’s Emerging Emiratis Grows Apace

Sun Dec 10,2006

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) continues to shine the spotlight on young UAE national filmmakers in 2006, in its Emerging Emiratis programme.

Masoud Amralla al Ali, Artistic Director of Arabic Programming at DIFF, stated, “there is talent building here in the UAE, just in time to ride the wave of production that will come with the continuing pace of business facilitated by DIFF and the construction of Dubai Studio City. Filmmakers like those in our Emerging Emiratis programme will define a new movement in cinema in the region.”

Many of the films in this year’s programme have already won awards, and they span the full range of techniques, from animation to documentary to stylized photography that evokes a dream-like state. Films in the Emerging Emiratis category are:

Ahmad Suleiman: directed by Waleed al Shehhi of Ras al Khaima’s School of Higher Technology, this poignant documentary shadows the eponymous character as he goes about his life on the margins: disabled and mute, he is a sharp contrast to the wealth that surrounds us in Dubai.

Arabana (Wheelbarrow): directed by Nayla al Khaja, who was named Emirates Woman of the Year in 2005, Arabana tells the story of a young girl neglected by her family who retreats into a world of her imagination. Ms. Khaja is CEO of her own production company, D-Seven Marketing and Design.

Al Hellah: this is a documentary about intergenerational change; a grandfather recounts to his video-game obsessed grandson the joys of playing the traditional children’s game Al Hellah. The director, Jassim Mohammed al Salty, is a graduate of the Dubai Men’s College, and his film won a Prize for Student’s Documentary Film at the Emirates Film Competition 2006.

Once Upon a Seed: this animated film won the DIFF Prize for UAE Artist with Exceptional Talent in Filmmaking. It was directed by Hamad Mansoor al Awar, and is based on one of his poems; it is the story of a seed struggling for life and independence in the shade of two large trees.

Sara’s Secrets: this film depicts the torturous jealousy of a woman with many secrets. It was directed by Juma al Sahli, a graduate of Abu Dhabi Men’s College. Al Sahli and the film’s screenwriter, Khalid Alrayhi, both won Special Mention Awards at the Emirates Film Competition in 2006.

Sama’ Sagheera (the Small Sky): Co-directed by Abdullah Hassan Ahmad and Omar Ibrahim, this film chronicles the impact of a death on the relationship between a young girl and her father. Both filmmakers won the Prize for Short Fiction Film at the Emirates Film Competition.

The Dubai International Film Festival runs from 10 to 17 December, 2006.

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