Award-winning German filmmaker Andreas Dresen, Palestine filmmaker, poet and Academy Award contender Annemarie Jacir and Malaysian director and author Amir Muhammad will be in Dubai this December to select the best short films and directors from the Arab world, Asia and Africa for the 2011 Dubai International Film Festival’s prestigious Muhr Awards.
The three directors constitute one of the juries for the eighth DIFF, which takes place December 7 to 14 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai. Hundreds of films are vying for a space in the Festival’s competition shortlist.
The short films jury will award three prizes of US$30,000, US$20,000 and US$10,000 in the Festival’s flagship Muhr Arab competition, and three identical prizes in its Muhr AsiaAfrica competition.
Dresen, recently named a Master of Cinema by the International Film Festival of Mannheim-Heidelberg, also scooped the ‘Un Certain Regard’ prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year for his drama Stopped On Track.
For Jacir, the jury slot marks a return to the Dubai festival – where her first feature Salt of this Sea won awards and her short film Like Twenty Impossibles debuted in previous editions. Salt of this Sea was Palestine’s entry to the 2009 Oscars.
Malaysian director and author Amir Muhammad’s films include The Last Communist and Village People Radio Show (Apa Khabar Orang Kampung), which have drawn rave reviews at the Sundance and Berlin festivals.
The Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica shorts competitions are among the most anticipated in the Festival, and this year is expected to be no different given the tumultuous events in the Arab world and the two continents. The short format is used by emerging and established filmmakers alike to tell compelling, hard hitting and contemporary stories in an unusual way.
DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “Having a jury of accomplished film professionals, who have demonstrated their command over the medium, benefits both the quality of the programme as well as the participating filmmakers. We anticipate some very compelling entries this year and an intensely competitive evaluation process, and look forward to announcing the shortlisted contenders in the next few weeks.”
More than 1,000 short films, documentaries and feature films have entered DIFF’s Muhr Emirati, Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica shorts, features and documentary competitions that offer more than 36 awards and over US$600,000 in prize money in addition to valuable industry connections. They will also be eligible for a variety of prestigious global awards including the FIPRESCI International Prize of the Critics Award and the Human Rights Film Network Award.
DIFF is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.