Sun Oct 21,2007

Massive Interest in Second Annual Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema

Dubai, October 21, 2007: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has announced that it has received overwhelming submissions for its second annual Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema and the Arabian Nights programming segment, reflecting a growing interest in the festival as a platform for promoting Arab films.

In total, the festival has received over 300 films that centre on the issues, dreams, and stories of the Arab world; these are eligible for the coveted Muhr, which boasts some of the most generous cash prizes among international film festivals. The Arabian Nights category additionally received 55 entries.

The Competition received a higher amount of documentaries than features or shorts, reflecting an interest in the Arab world in cinema verite and news reporting on the many issues facing the region. This year also saw a radical increase in the number of features entered for the competition.

Masoud Amralla al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director and the Coordinator General of the Muhr Awards competition, said: “the high number of entries we have seen this year is extremely positive for our mandate of promoting Arab films. Our long-term goal for the Muhr Awards is to showcase excellence in Arab cinema, which epitomizes the talent and passion that is coming from this region.”

The Muhr Awards sees participation from all over the Arab world, as well as America and Europe. The majority of this year’s entries are from the Maghreb and Egypt, followed by Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and the United States. A broad range of European countries also sent entries, including Norway, Holland, Luxembourg, Greece and Italy.

The festival also received numerous entries from the UAE, which promises an interesting Emerging Emiratis programming segment.

Last year, Algerian filmmaker Jamila Sahrawi took home the grand prize of USD 50,000 and the gold statue for her winning feature, ‘Barakat’. The Gold Muhr for Shorts (and USD 30,000) went to Shereen Diabes of Palestine for her film ‘Make a Wish’, and In the Documentary section, the Gold statuette (and USD 40,000) went to ‘VSH Kahlusha’, by Najeeb Bilkawi from Tunisia

The fourth edition of DIFF will run from December 9 to 16, 2007.

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