The first session of the Gulf Nights open forum for filmmakers, industry experts and movie lovers at the fourth Gulf Film Festival, urged Arab directors and film professionals to make cinema for a global audience.
The Gulf Nights sessions, held daily at midnight from April 15 to 19, 2011, run on the sidelines of the Festival at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the session witnessed robust interaction among the participants with insightful discussions on the relevance of the Gulf Film Festival, its mandate and sound advice offered to young filmmakers on how to further sharpen their skills.
Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali told the packed audience that cinema shouldn’t be constrained to one geography or audience. “Do not limit your target group; make films for the world. The moment you restrict the film for any set audience, you narrow the focus and power of the film,” he said.
Advising the young filmmakers to react positively to criticism, Al Ali said that nothing stops the young generation filmmakers from fulfilling their cinematic ambitions. “We are confident that the young Arab filmmakers will continue with their efforts, and we will see more works from them. The Gulf Film Festival is not to direct or instruct the young talent, but to provide them with a platform to showcase their creativity and thus reach out to a wider global audience.”
He explained that the founding philosophy of the festival is to create a space for expression for the regional talent so they can partner in building a strong future for the industry. “This region had no cinema industry of its own; we are now witnessing through the efforts of our youngsters the emergence of a powerful industry. The festival is here to create the framework, and give back to the regional talent by highlighting their creativity.”
The global showcase of films selected for the fourth edition of the festival adds to the knowledge base of the young talent and the audiences, he added. “We are here as one big family to discuss about cinema, the challenges and opportunities, and assist those with a passion for cinema to pursue their dreams.”
Salah Sermini, Consultant to the Gulf Film Festival, said the Gulf Nights is a window for the public and the filmmakers to review the selection of films, and discuss in-depth about the varied aspects of the festival. “This is a one of its kind initiative, and provides the opportunity for guests and participants to meet, interact, exchange ideas and work towards achieving the common goal of building a strong Arab film industry.”
GFF 2011 is being held at the InterContinental Hotel, Crowne Plaza and Grand Cinemas at Dubai Festival City. The Festival includes a Gulf competition, student competition, out-of-competition segments including children’s cinema, and other special events. All the 153 films from 31 nations screened at GFF 2011 until April 20 are free for entry for the public.
The Gulf Film Festival box office is open from 10.30 am to 10 pm daily at the Grand Cinemas Dubai Festival City. All patrons are welcome to up to two tickets per person on a first-come, first-served basis. The full schedule  of films is also available online.
The Gulf Film Festival is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and is held in association with Dubai Studio City.