Wed Oct 22,2008

Renowned Critical Association to Launch Best Arab Film Prize

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced details of their strategic partnership with the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), to launch the annual “Prize of the International Critics” for the best feature film in the Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema. This is the first time the award will be granted to an Arab film.

The FIPRESCI prize has been established at international film festivals with an objective to promote film as an art form and encourage new and upcoming talent. The organization will also host a panel discussion during DIFF 2008 on the role of Arab Cinema and its impact on the global arena.

The prize will be awarded by a jury of five known film critics and will be presided over by renowned French critic Jean Roy Paris from the “L’Humanite”, one of the most experienced members of FIPRESCI. . The award will be presented at DIFF 2008,  the festival’s landmark fifth year. FIPRESCI, the foremost body of film writers, academics and critics from over 60 countries around the world, was invited by DIFF to consider the new category to further the model of the festival’s successful Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema, now in its third year.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF Artistic Director, said: “FIPRESCI is one of the most prominent authorities on film and film criticism in the world and it is an honor for us that they chose DIFF to present their first ever award to Arab Film. This award represents the international recognition that up and coming Arab cinema will continue to grow in the years to come as the industry matures and the infrastructure improves. DIFF is at the forefront of this trend and we salute FIPRESCI for recognizing our region’s contribution to world cinema. This first award will be presented to the best feature film in the Muhr Arab competition.  We have high hopes to expand this in the years to come to include shorts and documentaries.”

Klaus Eder, General Secretary of FIRPRESCI, stated: “Festivals offer a most exciting opportunity to become acquainted with world cinema, in particular as most cinema theatres do increasingly mirror only a very small (Hollywood-dominated) segment of the world’s film production. As film critics, it is our interest and pleasure to support national cinema in all its forms and diversity. Therefore, we enthusiastically welcome the offer to come with a jury to Dubai,  a festival that presents a wonderful overview of recent Arab production. It will as well be a welcome opportunity to meet critics from Arab countries. We hope to open a window, in Dubai, to a world which for us by now stayed rather unknown.”

FIPRESCI has been in existence for more than 70 years and now boasts members in over 60 different countries. Its goal is to support cinema as an art form and as an outstanding and autonomous means of expression. FIPRESCI organizes conferences and seminars as well as presents awards at Cannes, The Toronto International Film Festival,  Venice, Berlin and San Sebastian among many other top international film festivals. For more information on Fipresci, please log on to

The fifth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will run from December 11 to 18, 2008.

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