Gulf Film Festival movies make a splash in the global circuit
Gulf Film Festival (GFF), the annual event celebrating Gulf cinema, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, is blazing a trail globally with its film selection chosen for film festivals and cultural showcases across the world.
More than 50 GFF movies have screened in 11 key film festival events in 2009 with the festival also serving as the Official Submission Organisation for the Gulf region for 2008 and 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), the region’s highest film accolade.
Among the key festivals that GFF movies were nominated at include APSA; the Zanzibar International Film Festival; Golden Apricot International Film Festival of Yerevan in Armenia; Ahmedabad International Film Festival in India; Beirut International Documentary Festival (Docudays) and the Beirut International Film Festival in Lebanon; Arab Film Festival in Australia; Arab Film Festival Rotterdam; the Nabeul Cinema Nights in Tunisia; and ‘Days of Gulf Cinema in Palestine’.
GFF Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the international acceptance of films screened at GFF, including several movies from the UAE, highlights the marked evolution of Arab cinema as an established entity.
“One of the founding goals of GFF has been to promote Arab film talent and offer a sounding board for their growth and acceptance globally. The global appeal of our film selection is a testament to the success of our vision,” he said.
“GFF serves as a powerful platform for Arab film talent, across the world, to showcase films that are related to the Gulf and Middle East region. This is the first time that a referral point has been set for Arab cinema, and the international film festivals and cultural organisations bank on GFF to identify the best in Arab film creativity,” added Masoud.
Some of the most popular titles across these international film festivals include: The Circle, Henna, Beyond Words, Revenge, When the People Spoke – Part 3, The Loser Bet, The Sound of Life, Finding Mr & Mrs Right, Sunrise/Sunset, Amal’s Cloud, Bint Mariam and The Window, among others.
These include films by directors from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, highlighting the GCC-wide evolution of cinema.
Sunrise/Sunset (Shrouq/Ghroub), a Saudi Arabian production directed by Mohammad Aldhahri, had won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award for best shorts in the Muhr Arab Awards of Dubai International Film Festival 2009.
Submissions are now open for the third edition of GFF to be held from April 8-14, 2010, presented by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority in association with Dubai Studio City. GCC national filmmakers as well as directors of films that depict life in the Arabian Gulf region can make their submissions online at www.gulffilmfest.com until February 15, 2010.