The Gulf Film Festival Dubai, the home of bold, experimental and contemporary cinema from the Arabian Peninsula, has received a record 1,412 submissions from 98 countries for its Gulf-wide, student and international shorts competitions.
The submissions represent every corner of the world. The UAE led regional submissions, with 66 entries; followed by 58 from Iraq, 26 from Saudi Arabia, 18 from Oman, 14 from Iran, 13 from Egypt, 13 from Kuwait, 11 from Qatar, eight from Bahrain and three from Yemen. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco and Algeria also provided a significant number of entries.
Internationally, the United States yielded the highest number of entries (81), followed by France (76) and India (37). Entries came from every continent, from Brazil (23), Canada (22), Argentina (16), Colombia and Mexico in the Americas to Taiwan (17), China (5), South Korea (4), Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia in east Asia. Submitting nations also include all of Europe, from the United Kingdom to Russia. All quarters of Africa were also represented, from Burundi to Zambia.
Non-traditional film markets such as Afghanistan, Lithuania, Gabon, and Kyrgyzstan are also represented, underscoring the geographical reach of the Gulf Film Festival.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Festival Director, Gulf Film Festival, said the significant number of entries despite challenging regional and global conditions is a testament to filmmakers’ struggle to be heard, and their confidence in the Gulf Film Festival.
“We are very pleased with the response from around the world, our submissions list reads like a world atlas. We remain committed to promoting Gulf regional talent by offering a solid platform for filmmakers in the Arab world to highlight their creativity; however, we also believe in exposing them to international competition and learning. The new segment adds an international dimension to the festival, and we look forward to sharing the wealth of creative shorts with UAE audiences.”
He added: “We are particularly impressed by the student submissions – both in terms of quality and numbers. It underscores the success of the festival in encouraging the creation of a robust film industry regionally, and providing the youngsters to showcase their talent to a wide audience. The response across competition and non-competition categories is phenomenal, and reinforces the standing of Gulf Film Festival as a rising destination for the world’s finest cinema experimentations.”
The Festival includes Gulf-wide, student and international shorts competitions, as well as out-of-competition segments. Entries in the Gulf Competition are invited in three categories: Feature Films, Short Films, and Documentaries. Students compete in short films and documentaries only, while international films compete in short films only.
The Gulf Competition is for films from the Gulf region – UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar – as well as Yemen and Iraq. The Student Competition is open to works made or produced by students during their academic study, or as part of a college project. Two specialist juries will evaluate the shortlisted submissions and award nearly half a million dirhams in prize money to emerging and professional filmmakers.
All Gulf Film Festival films are free and open to the public. The festival is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and is held in association with Dubai Studio City. More details on the festival are available online at www.gulffilmfest.com .