Forty-five filmmakers from the Middle East and around the world have been given a rare and life-changing opportunity to learn from Abbas Kiarostami, one of the world’s most renowned directors, later this month in Dubai as part of the fourth Gulf Film Festival.
The 10-day Kiarostami master class, the first of its kind in the Gulf region, will be held from April 11 to 20 in Dubai by the Festival in association with Documentary Voices, a documentary festival focused on social issues. The GFF, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) will run from April 14 to 20, 2011.
The 45 finalists were shortlisted from applicants from across the Gulf countries, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Iran, Levant, Europe, the United States, India and Bangladesh who submitted resumes, personal statements and work samples.
They include nearly 20 from the UAE; six from Saudi Arabia; four from Iraq; four from Bahrain; three from Kuwait; two from Oman and one from Iran. More than 10 women are included. Twenty-five of those chosen have films in competition at the 2011 Gulf Film Festival.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Festival Director, Gulf Film Festival, said: “There is a wealth of talent in our region, and having to choose from among them was a tremendous challenge. The master class drew a remarkable response, and every submission was reviewed extensively. We are proud to provide these filmmakers with an opportunity to work alongside and learn from one of the world’s most important directors.”
The veteran Iranian director, whose 40-plus films have received acclaim around the world, from the United States and Mexico to Russia and Singapore, in addition to Iran, India, Turkey and Lebanon, will work with the filmmakers through every stage of making a film.
The helmer of such classics including Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, The Koker Trilogy and recent Cannes winner Certified Copy will help participants develop a topic and their stories, guide their shoots on location in Dubai’s Bastakiya area, review rough cuts and advise them on post-production aspects. The films, each between 1 to 5 minutes long, will undergo a final review by Kiarostami, who will comment on each work. The auteur will also screen clips from his films and discuss them with participants, providing unique insights into his style and world.
Nayla Al Khaja, renowned Emirati filmmaker, said: “I am extremely humbled and fortunate to be among the selected film makers to attend Kiarostami’s master classes. He is not just an international figure in the film world but an artist of a very renowned calibre. To be trained by him during GFF is perhaps to me the highlight of my year. I am sure it will inspire me and other filmmakers and strengthen our understanding of cinema from all its aspect. Being involved with Kiarostami's master classes will definitely impact us in one way or another. Thank you Gulf Film Festival!”
Emirati director Muna Al-Ali, one of the 45 shortlisted filmmakers, said: “I am excited to meet Abbas Kiarostami at the Gulf Film Festival. I believe that I will be able to learn a lot from this master class, Mr. Kiarostami’s experience, and his portfolio of films. It is heartening to have been selected, considering I only directed one movie. This proves that the Gulf Film Festival is truly dedicated to helping us learn more about the industry and understand that this goes beyond just being a hobby. From his class, I look forward to hearing about his challenges and getting tips on new techniques and technologies. This will be beneficial especially when I am only in the beginning of the road.”
The Gulf Film Festival includes Gulf-wide, student and international shorts competitions, as well as out-of-competition segments, a children’s cinema segment, a focus on experimental filmmaker Gerard Courant and a series of workshops and discussions. 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 .