DIFF shines the spotlight on Dubai at Cannes Film Festival


MUMBAI: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) underscored the emergence of Dubai as the Middle East’s hub in promoting the regional film industry at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in France.


DIFF showcased its industry initiatives and partnerships, which have created a powerful platform for nurturing talent and promoting the film industry across the Middle East, the larger Arab world, Africa and Asia.


DIFF hosted several industry gatherings and announced industry partnerships, on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival, all of them aimed at bringing together filmmakers and providing them support to power the growth of the Arab film industry.


Abdulhamid Juma said, “The founding objective of DIFF has been to promote a regional filmmaking industry and provide Arab filmmakers the opportunity and means to accomplish productions of world-class quality. Over the past years, DIFF has facilitated this through powerful industry partnerships stimulating regional and international film production and trade. The efforts of Dubai International Film Festival have established Dubai as the premiere destination for global film players interested in doing in business in the region.”


“The competency of DIFF in empowering regional filmmakers was highlighted with the strong participation of Arab filmmakers, who made their foray into international cinema through DIFF. In addition to establishing stronger links with other leading film festivals to share synergies and to serve as scouts for outstanding works, DIFF has announced several new co-operation strategic agreements, aimed at further promoting regional talent and raising the profile of cinema from the Arab world internationally,” he added.


Among the key initiatives of DIFF is the Dubai Film Connection (DFC), the co-production market, which has supported 46 projects until now, including 10 completed films, and nine nearing completion. DFC offers directors of Arab origin more than US$120,000 in prize money and invaluable industry connections. The DFC also matches the short-listed director/producer teams with specialists in film production, sales, distribution and funding to further their projects.


Dubai Film Market, the trading and distribution platform at DIFF, is another key industry initiative that has helped the regional industry. In its 2009 edition, the Dubai Film Market assisted trade deals for over 130 films with the total value of the distribution agreements worth over AED 7.3 million (US$2 million). Distribution agreements were signed for markets as far afield as Australia to India and the US, with several Gulf-based films gaining trading and distribution rights for theatre screens and television.


At Cannes, DIFF announced its strategic partnership with Beirut DC, a Lebanon-based organisation that promotes independent film-making, to strengthen local documentary film-making skills. DIFF will provide a financial incubating fund to Beirut DC’s Documentary Course aimed at inspiring young film professionals to showcase their skills in documentary making. The selected project will be presented at DFC for potential financial and technical support to execute a full-fledged documentary.


Further driving the outreach of the festival, the DIFF delegation at Cannes 2010 hosted a series of networking events including gatherings for film makers, film executives, distributors and heads of leading film festivals, reaffirming DIFF’s international positioning as a Festival committed to promoting cross cultural dialogue.


In addition, DIFF partnered with the Producers Network third year in a row to host a reception that aimed to pair international industry players with Arab film makers, re-enforcing the talent and creativity that is coming from this region. The event was attended by nearly 200 cinema personalities including registered members to the Cannes Producers Network.


The Producers Network, one of the foremost educational platforms for film festival executives, gathers over 500 producers from around the world to network through a range of comprehensive programs and match making initiatives.


The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival, 2010, will be held from 12 to 19 December, 2010. DIFF, 2010, is held in association with Dubai Studio City and supported by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF.