Dubai Film Festival’s Muhr Awards open for 07


MUMBAI: The Dubai International Film Festival’s (DIFF) second annual Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema is now open, and will be accepting submissions until 31 August 2007.


As part of the festival’s mandate of promoting Arab cinema, winners in three categories – feature films, shorts and documentaries – will receive handsome prizes that amount to over AED 1 million.

Competing films must be made by a director of Arab nationality or origin, and the subject and storyline of the film must deal with the Arab world and/or Arab history or culture.

DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said, “The Competition provides Arab filmmakers with an opportunity to receive recognition for outstanding work, and encourage production of films in the Arab world. There is a nascent pan-Arab cinema, and the quality and scope of the films we received for last year’s competition proved that. We are eager to see the entries for DIFF 2007, and proud that our initiative is in its second year.”

The films must have been produced after 1 September 2006, without having been released commercially in the UAE before 17 December 2007, or having been shown on any television channel or streamed via the internet to any public audience.

Films that do not meet with the competition criteria and have not been commercially screened in the UAE can be submitted for consideration in DIFF’s ‘Out of Competition’ Arabian Nights or Emerging Emiratis sections.

A judging panel from the international and Arab film community will review submissions, and shortlist 10 films in each of the three categories. Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 15 November 2007.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Director General of the Muhr Awards and Artistic Director of Arabic Programming, added, “Many festival-goers have expressed a high interest in viewing Arab cinema, which is also becoming more popular and well-known world-wide. Through the launch of this competition, we also aim to support and strengthen the local and regional film industries, and grow Dubai’s own film industry base.”

In the short film category, the Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes are $ 30,000, 20,000 and 10,000, respectively. The Documentary section awards are $ 40,000 for Gold and 30,000 for Silver and 20,000 for Bronze.

The Gold Muhr, which was won last year by Algeria’s Jamila Sahrawi for her feature Barakat! is worth $ 50,000, the Silver prize, which went to Falafel by Lebanon’s Michel Kammoun, is worth $ 40 000, and the Bronze, which went to Hakim bil Abbas for Why O’Sea?, is worth $ 30,000.

The competition will additionally award UAE filmmakers for the best script in the shorts category, and give recognition to an emerging UAE filmmaker as the ‘most promising filmmaker’ for 2007.

The Dubai International Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 9-16 December 2007.