MUMBAI: At the close of the successful fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), the organizers announced that the Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema will be expanded for 2008 to include a new Asia/Africa Competition. The festival will also add an Animation programming segment to focus on that popular cinematic form.
The Muhr Asia/Africa Competition will feature cash prizes for the best Feature, Documentary and Short films, as well as the awards introduced this year for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Script, Best Editor, Best Composer and Best Cinematography. Cash prizes will be equal for the Arab and Asia/Africa competitions.
Masoud Amralla al Ali, the festivalâ€™s Artistic Director and Coordinator General of Competition, stated: â€œDIFF is in a perfect position to showcase cinema from Asia and Africa, being a crossroads between Asia, Africa, Europe, and points beyond. We feel that this award embodies the cosmopolitan nature of our festival, as well as Dubaiâ€™s incredible diversity.
â€œFurthermore, some of the film communities within the remit of the new competition often operate under extreme duress. Particularly in developing countries, artists need help and recognition to continue their craft.â€
In addition, there will be a special Animation segment among the Out of Competition offerings.
Simon Field, DIFFâ€™s Artistic Director of International Programming, stated: â€œWe included Animation as a special category first, because it is a special sub-genre that is evolving rapidly with new technology. This programme will offer viewers the chance to sample the newest trends in international animation as well as to sense the diversity in this unique art form.
â€œWe want to showcase animation from around the region and to encourage production in that sector. To that end, we will feature the animation films made by winners of the Ibdaâ€™a Media Student Awards to demonstrate our support for that important initiative.â€