Saudi Arabian Animated Short on Impact of Terrorism to Make Middle East Debut at Dubai Film Festival
Wed Nov 30,2005
At a time when news headlines around the world are filled with mentions of terrorism, a new and insightful short film is emerging from Saudi Arabia as a cautionary tale about the impact of terrorism on future generations of children. Attention, the sole entry from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to this year’s Dubai International Film Festival, will make its Middle East premiere at DIFF 2005 next month as part of the Festival’s Arabian Shorts program. The three-minute animated film, written, produced and directed by first-time Syrian director Akram Agha, tells the story of how children and childhood could be compromised if terrorism continues to plague the world. “Attention is simply a gloomy vision of what could happen if terrorism and radicalism rule the world,” the Saudi-based Syrian filmmaker said. The short film has been classified as a Saudi Arabian entry as it has been produced and funded there. “Terrorists will raise new generations of bullets in the form of children and use them as the fuel for their wars against civilization. There are too many innocents suffering from terrorism all over the world, and I just want to say to these people to take their dirty hands off the children.” Although the film has been screened at the Fantoche International Animation Film Festival in Switzerland and the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film in Germany, Agha said the Dubai Film Festival was a great opportunity to show the film to Arab audiences for the first time. “This film could have come from any country, but it is important that it comes from Saudi Arabia because we too have suffered in the last three years of terrorist attacks,” Agha said. Arabian Shorts chief programmer Mohammed Maklouf said the film represents a universal statement on the horrors of war, and should not be interpreted in any other way. “I wanted to screen this film primarily because it is made by a young Arab filmmaker, and that is the crux of this section and of the Dubai Film Festival: to encourage and support young Arab filmmakers,” Maklouf said. “It’s also a creative and powerful first film with a keen insight, the kind of film that helps to change the damaging stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims.” The Arabian Shorts program this year includes 13 short and documentary films from across the Arab world. The second Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 11 and 17, 2005, and will feature 98 films including features, retrospectives and short films. DIFF 2005 is divided into 12 distinct programs - including five brand new sections - each focusing on a particular category of film. Tickets to DIFF 2005 are available at Festival Box Offices in the Madinat Theatre at Souq Madinat Jumeirah, in the lobby of Building 2 at Dubai Media City, and at CineStar Cinemas at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre. Tickets can also be purchased on the Dubai Film Festival website www.dubaifilmfest.com. The Festival is presented by its Founding Sponsors Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Properties, Emirates, Etisalat and the Madinat Jumeirah – the Arabian Resort.