Weaving a Film Industry

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The winter months starting from October will be a platter full of films for the UAE. While so are feature films, some others are documentaries. “We are a young film industry and it is too early to categorise us into genres. After we have a body of work, then film critics and historians can label our films according to genres,” says the young Emirati film maker Nawaf Al Janahi whose recent film Sea Shadow won critical acclaim. For a region that is so techno savvy, no wonder then that Sharjah has a film festival for children that includes films made by children and young adults.

As India celebrates 100 years of Indian cinema, the Dubai International Film Festival celebrates 10 years of its inception this year and is scheduled between December 6-14, 2013.

Sharjah has been active with its Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival that will take place in October 2013. The SICF that just ended its submissions include films made by children and young adults, and films made for children.

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival will return for its seventh edition in 2013 from October 24th through till November 2nd.

In addition are screenings of documentaries that keep the mood of films alive. The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) announced a new partnership with the Festival Biarritz Amerique Latine, an important festival of reference for Latin American cinema held yearly in Biarritz, France. The partnership is the first of its kind for DIFF, and takes the form of an exchange, with each festival offering exhibition space to select films.

During the Festival Biarritz Amerique Latine, to be held from September 30 to October 6, 2013, one of DIFF’s Arab films and its director will be showcased. In return, the French festival will select a Latin American producer interested in co-production with the Arab world to attend DIFF’s Dubai Film Connection project market and the Dubai Film Market during DIFF’s 2013 edition, to be held December 6 to 14.
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Films from GFF travel to Morocco

Films screened during the 2013 edition of the Gulf Film Festival (GFF) are now making their way to this year’s Festival du Court Mertage Maghribo-Asiatique (Asian-Moroccan Festival of Short Films), which will be held in Tissa, Morocco, from May 22 to 26 2013.

Nine films that participated in this year’s edition of GFF were selected to be screened at the 6th edition of the Asian-Moroccan Festival of Short Films and come from various countries in the GCC, India, Iran and Belgium.

Me, My Wife, and Our Cow, directed by Azadeh Moezzi, revolves around a patient old woman, an old man and their cow in this story about a lover’s constant efforts to heal his beloved. The film Allah is Great from the director Andrea Iannetta, talks about how Frank Asmas, a Danish engineer, meets Salim, a taxi driver, when he is on his way out of a remote Indian village to Nairobi. The characters come from different worlds and their journey together results in mayhem. Moving to Yemen, Sawsan Al-Areeqe challenges old traditions where men always take the lead, while women suffer under their domination as they follow them like a shadow. In her film Photo, Al-Areeqe focuses on how confident women always fight for their rights and are determined to overcome oppression. Moving to the GCC, Kuwait takes the lead with four films. Dinosaur, directed by Meqdad Al Kout, talks about how government employee Bu Mansour strives to change his job title before his retirement. Dawood Shuail, director of The Detective, focuses on a detective that traces the clash between a young detective and a fugitive drug dealer. Men’s Barbershop, by Meshal Alhulail, follows a protagonist who is faced with the seemingly impossible challenge of changing his barber. In the last Kuwaiti film, Passport Photo, by Yousef Almujeem, a Kuwaiti national visits a photographer to have a photo taken for his passport picture. However, he is disappointed after the photo shoot.

Set in Doha, Qatari film 8 Billion directed by Riad Makdessi, is the story of a couple whose romance is straight from the movies. Three years later, reality hits them and the idea of having a baby begins to gnaw away at their perfect life.

Baghdad Messi celebrates the uplifting power of sport with the story of eight-year-old Hamoudi, addicted to football despite having only one leg. He and his friends can hardly wait for the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester – but then the television breaks down! The film is a co-production between the UAE, Iraq and Belgium from director Sahim Omar Kalifa, who won a Muhr Short award in 2011 for his production The Land of the Heroes.

Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival promotes talent among children

SICFF has films in two categories: Films made by children and young adults, and films made for children. The festival will take place on October 2013 in Sharjah.

With aspirations to elevate the levels of children’s learning and their exposure to the arts, Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival is a project initiated by FUNN, an organization that aims to promote and support Media Arts for young children and the youth of Sharjah and UAE.

Elaborating further on the enthusiasm following the call for submissions, Jawaher Abdulla Al Qassimi, Festival Film Director of SICFF and FUNN’s Assistant Manager says: “After our initial call for submissions, we witnessed outstanding response ranging from local, regional and international contributions. We now invite aspiring filmmakers, children and adults, to come forward and showcase their talents at SICFF. Film should be seen as an expression of thoughts, ideas and education, and this is what we call on you to display.”

The first of its kind in the Middle East, Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival is a showcase of films with educational value to children, immersing them into the meaning and power of digital art, films and new media.

Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF) is a new initiative added to Sharjah’s cultural achievements, established by the Government of Sharjah, under the generous patronage of Her Highness Sheikh Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. SICFF is the first children’s film festival in the country and region.
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The Abu Dhabi Documentary Club

Abu Dhabi Documentary Club concluded this year’s cultural season by screening two award winning short films at the 4th annual Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF). The screening was organized by Anasy Media Production in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Community Development, Zayed University, The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, The Environment Friends Society and Abu Dhabi’s Environmental Agency website. The two short films that were screened were: “Dreams in Their Eyes”, directed by Abeer Al Marzouqi, Ayesha Al Amri, and Khawla Al Maamari; winner of the “Best Documentary Film” award, as well as the “Best Emirati Film” and the “Best Student Documentary Film” awards in the last round of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

“The Rope”, directed by Hiba Tawaji; winner of the “Best Narrative Film” award.

“Dreams in Their Eyes” is the first UAE film screened at the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The 20-minute film features life inside refugee camps as seen by social scientists, doctors, and the children who are receiving medical care provided by a relief organization.
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