Nurturing Native Talent at the 2006 Dubai International Film Festival

Sun Sep 17,2006

Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced details of the DIFF Short-Film Script Competition, instituted this year to nurture the filmmaking talent of UAE nationals. Abdulhamid Juma, Deputy Director General, Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority said: “The Short-Film Script Competition aims to acknowledge and encourage emerging UAE scriptwriters and filmmakers, paving the way for an upcoming generation of national filmmaking talent.”

The script must be written in Arabic by a scriptwriter or filmmaker of UAE nationality. The competition provides a spotlight not only on nationals, but also on the richness and diversity of the local landscape, as each script is required to be set in the UAE. Applicants may submit up to two scripts, no more than 30 pages in length, but it is important to note material must not have been previously optioned, purchased or produced. Entries must be the original, copyrighted work of a sole author or a collaborative effort between two writers, and the deadline for the competition is November 15, 2006.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director – Arab Programming and Head of DIFF Arab Film Competition said: “The UAE currently boasts over 600 nationals associated with the filmmaking industry. The works of emerging Emirati filmmakers screened at the 2005 edition proved their inherent creative talent. The competition will further their understanding of the medium, and provide momentum to a home-grown film industry.”

A three-member jury from the Arab film community will select three best scripts to be awarded cash prizes of AED 50,000 (US$ 13,500), AED 40,000 (US$ 11,000), and AED 30,000 (US$ 8,200) respectively. Masoud added that the prize money must be allocated for the production of the film in the UAE, and winning scripts must be produced and submitted to DIFF 2007 before 1 October, 2007.

Award Winning UAE national scriptwriter, Ibrahim Al Mulla said: “DIFF’s decision to recognise UAE nationals will motivate scriptwriters to reach for higher creative standards and develop more innovative scripts and films.” Al Mulla is the scriptwriter of prize winning documentary films “Memory of a Wall” (Emirates Film Competition 2002) and “An Eye Gazes at a Dream” (Golden Prize at Cairo Film Festival 2000 for Radio & TV).

Earlier this year, Dubai International Film Festival presented the ‘DIFF Award for Outstanding Talent in an Emerging UAE Filmmaker’ to Hamad Mansoor Alawar at the fifth edition of the Emirates Film Competition. The DIFF award included a cash prize of AED 15,000 for Alawar’s work, ‘Once upon a Seed’. DIFF also hosted a networking lunch for national filmmakers and film students to develop increased synergy among the UAE film making community.

Later this year, it aims to hold workshops and interactive forums to further its objective of motivating the national filmmaking fraternity. Competition criteria details and entry forms for DIFF Short-Script Film Competition are available on, the official website of the Dubai International Film Festival. The Dubai International Film Festival 2006 will run from 10 – 17 December.

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