They are the extras of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF)  who toil away out of the spotlight at the huge movie bash.
Since the festival’s inception in 2004, hundreds of volunteers with a passion for film,  many of whom are still at school, work behind the scenes to make the nine-day event a success.
Samina Yusuf, DIFF volunteer manager, told 7DAYS: “DIFF has had great impact not just among the students from universities and schools across the UAE but also with other groups of all ages who are looking for an opportunity to gain new experience.
“We have volunteers who come from Los Angeles,  Saudi Arabia, Europe and India, to name a few just, to be a part of DIFF every year. We believe volunteers bring life into everything they do and are the backbone of the festival.”
This year more than 1,700 applicants have so far applied to volunteer at the star-studded event, which starts on December 6, but only about 800 will be chosen, based on their skills and personality. All applicants must be over 15.
“Volunteers use DIFF as a platform to enrich themselves with experience and get into the exciting world of events,” said Yusuf. “We have volunteers who joined us as students assisting us with the day-to-day running of the festival who are now filmmakers. Their interest to return back to DIFF every year helped them grow and gain more knowledge in their specific field and pursue careers in the film industry.”
Emirati Mohammed Al Bastaki is one of those looking to return for a second year of volunteering with DIFF. In 2012 he took leave from his job to help out. “I’ve learned so much with them” says Bastaki. “From managing to problem solving.”
Anum Kidwai has also volunteered before. She says: “I was a bit of a ‘floater’ last year and experienced working in several departments. But towards the end, I was most needed with guest relations. This year, they called me and offered me a guest relations job. It’s a great experience, I really enjoyed it. Especially that you get to communicate with many people and expand your network.”
For more information about volunteering visit dubaifilmfest.com.