Dubai International Film Festival Announces over AED 1 Million in Prize Money for Arab Film Competit

Sun Aug 27,2006

Dubai: 27 August, 2006 – The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced approximately AED 1.2 million (US$ 325,000) in prize money as part of the ‘Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema’ for winning entries in the festival’s new Arab Film Competition.

Addressing a press conference, the festival management said the term ‘Muhr’, meaning young horse in Arabic, is in line with Dubai International Film Festival’s logo. Symbolising the Arabian heritage, ‘Muhr’ also embodies nobility and spirit, and will highlight DIFF as a film festival that is representative of the region. The ‘Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema’ will honour the work of Arab filmmakers in the feature, documentary and short film categories.

The new Competition will recognize Arab and UAE filmmakers as part of the festival’s overall strategy to develop and support the Arab film industry. The top prize in the Arab Film Competition for best feature will be close to AED 185,000 (US$ 50,000). The competition will additionally award UAE filmmakers for the best script in the shorts category, and give recognition to an emerging UAE filmmaker as the ‘most promising filmmaker’ for 2006.

Abdulhamid Juma, Deputy Director General, TECOM said: “DIFF aims to share the creative excellence of Arab filmmakers with its audiences from around the world. The Arab Film Competition will celebrate films that provide an insight into the rich culture and traditions of the Arab world. The Muhr Awards will mark a new milestone in the realm of Arab cinema, and pave the way for a new generation of filmmaking talent in the UAE.”

Providing details on the programming for DIFF 2006, Neil Stephenson, CEO of DIFF said: “While focusing on DIFF’s tradition to support the Arab filmmaking community, we will continue to bring in works of dynamic international filmmakers that the festival’s audience would otherwise not have the opportunity to view.”

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director – Arab Programming and Head of DIFF Arab Film Competition announced the prize structure for the Arab Film Competition, including the special awards for UAE nationals. The first three prize-winning UAE national scriptwriters will be honoured with cash prizes of AED 50,000 (US$ 13,500), AED 40,000 (US$ 11,000), and AED 30,000 (US$ 8,200) respectively. Prize money of AED 30,000 (US$ 8,200) has been earmarked for the winner of the ‘Most Promising UAE Filmmaker’ award.

Masoud added: “This competition will assist in the growth and development of the Arab film industry, and provide an environment for Arab filmmakers to showcase their work to key members of the international industry.”

The deadline for submissions to the Arab Film Competition is 25 September, 2006. The deadline for submissions from UAE nationals for the scriptwriting prizes is 15 November, 2006. Criteria, entry forms, and prize structure for the Muhr Awards are available on, the official website of the Dubai International Film Festival. The Dubai International Film Festival is scheduled to run from 10-17 December 2006.

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