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Prepare and persevere, directors tell students at DIFF 2009

Thu Dec 17,2009

The dedicated Students’ Day, held as part of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2009 in association with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, witnessed three young directors imparting invaluable tips during a ‘First-Timers’ industry panel for aspiring filmmakers.

The importance of preparation, perseverance, communication and having a clear vision were emphasised by Ali Mostafa, director, City of Life; Oliver Hermanus, director, Shirley Adams;  and Serhat Caradee, director, Cedar Boys, whose films were screened during the week-long festival.

Serhat Caradee said although films have myriad creative influences, all parties ultimately have to go with the director’s vision. “You need a clear vision and leadership, or it will show up on screen.”

Preparation was critical, he added, as you can’t afford to waste time or money on set. “A good screenplay is like gold,” he said. “There are plenty of producers and directors around, but if you’re a good writer, you’re in.”

Oliver Hermanus said filmmakers are constantly fighting time and stressed the importance of clear communication – “it’s three years of talking” – across different disciplines and departments.

Ali Mostafa, whose short clip was accompanied to cheers from UAE students, reiterated the need to “move quickly”, saying City of Life was shot in 34 days across 42 different locations in Dubai. “The car crash would have taken 10 days in Hollywood – but we did it in three nights.”

In another key industry workshop, the French Focus: ‘Vive le Cinema: Co-producing Fiction Features with France,’ delegates said a wide range of cinematic productions will further strengthen cultural links between France and the Arab world.

DIFF 2009 was held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah were the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event was supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

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