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Leading UAE Firms Announce Support of Second Dubai International Film Festival

Sun Nov 27,2005

Dubai, November 27, 2005 – Some of the UAE’s leading businesses and corporations today pledged their support for the second Dubai International Film Festival, signing on as founding sponsors of the high-profile event scheduled for December 11 – 17, 2005. The top tier of sponsors now represents some of the fastest-growing industries and firms in the nation, with Dubai Duty Free, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah – The Arabian Resort returning as founding Festival sponsors, and the addition of Dubai Properties and telecommunications giant Etisalat. Each organization has pledged its full support to the Festival. The Festival, which aims to bring the best of world cinema to Dubai as well as act as a showcase of Arab cinema to the world, has grown tremendously from its inaugural year, with an increase of more than 30 percent in the number of films alone. Next month’s Festival is also expected to top DIFF 2004’s high number of celebrity attendees from the American, European, Arab and Asian film industries. Festival Director and CEO Neil Stephenson said the solidarity shown by the five headline sponsors will go a long way in building a better festival for the community and increasing Dubai and the UAE’s profile on the world stage. “Dubai and the UAE have a long-standing tradition of creating and building the best and the brightest in everything they do, and today we find ourselves in the company of the best and brightest in their respective industries,” Stephenson said. “We are proud to join hands with these industry leaders, whose vision for the future of this emirate and this nation matches our own.” The sponsors’ renewed participation is a mark of their confidence in the Festival, Stephenson added. Although Etisalat’s subsidiary E*Vision and the Dubai Holding-operated Dubai Media City were involved in different capacities in the inaugural Festival, Dubai Duty Free, Emirates and the Madinat Jumeirah retain their roles as top sponsors. “Any worthwhile film festival takes a few years to establish a strong foundation, and it is in that spirit that we welcome these five community leaders onboard as our founding sponsors,” Stephenson said. “The logistical, financial and experiential support and goodwill they have extended to us are vital to our progress, and we look forward to working together as partners for many years to come.” Management representatives from the five top-tier sponsors also shared their views on the new relationship. Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, the third-largest duty free operation in the world, said the Dubai Film Festival gives a needed boost to both the local art and culture scene as well as providing a strong platform for talent in the region. “Our relationship with the Dubai Film Festival is a meeting of like-minded, world-class institutions, each with the potential to change perceptions and break new ground in this region,” McLoughlin said. “We are happy to be associated with the Festival as it enters its second year.” Dubai Properties, one of the youngest and most successful property specialists in the nation and the developer behind such iconic projects as Business Bay and the Jumeirah Beach Residence, said the company’s involvement with DIFF was part of its investment in the community. “We aim to give nothing but the best to our stakeholders, and the Dubai International Film Festival fits in with that vision,” said Nizar Khoury, Chief Marketing Officer of Dubai Properties. Ghaith Al Ghaith, Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations Worldwide at Emirates, one of the fastest-growing international airlines in the world, echoed many of these sentiments. “The relationship between Emirates and the Dubai Film Festival is a meeting of equals, and a symbiotic and mutually beneficial one,” Al Ghaith said. “We have a shared purpose of bringing the world to Dubai and taking Dubai to the world; and are pleased to renew our relationship with the Festival after our positive experiences last year.” From telecom giant Emirates Telecommunications Corporation \“Etisalat\”, Mohammed Hassan Omran, Chairman and CEO, said the corporation, which has been actively associated with social activities that help raise the status of the UAE regionally and internationally, was honored to have a larger role in bringing the Festival to the local community. “Etisalat is honored to have a larger role in bringing the international film festival to the UAE,” said Omran. “We believe in the festival’s mission of bridging the cultural gap between the East and the West. Moreover, we are proud to support an event which will improve the understanding of the Arab world, especially with the festival being a successful platform that showcases the tremendous cultural potential within our country.” Serge Zaalof, general manager of luxury Arabian resort and Festival epicenter Madinat Jumeirah, congratulated the DIFF management team for improving an already stellar framework. “As a major sponsor of the Dubai Film Festival for the second consecutive year, Madinat Jumeirah – The Arabian Resort is delighted to be involved in this event which celebrates art, culture and international understanding on a global level. We have planned some unique and exciting promotions that will be taking place throughout the resort for movie enthusiasts and the rest of the community visiting Madinat Jumeirah during the Film Festival. DIFF has become a highly anticipated event in Dubai and is proving to be popular internationally. We are looking forward to our involvement this year and once again celebrating the international film industry,” Zaalof said. The second Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 11 and 17, 2005, and will feature approximately 100 films including features, retrospectives and short films. DIFF 2005 is divided into 12 distinct programs - including five brand new additions - each focusing on a particular category of film.

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