The Gulf Film Festival, the home of bold, experimental and contemporary cinema from the Arabian Peninsula, will this year honour three of the region’s leading lights as part of its fourth edition.
The Festival, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), will this year honour three individuals who have contributed to the growth and evolution of Arab cinema: Emirati actress Mariam Sultan, Saudi director/producer Mohammad F. Gazzaz, and Kuwaiti producer/director Mohammad Al-Sanousi.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Festival Director, Gulf Film Festival, said the honourees in this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards shine a light on those who have worked behind the scenes for decades to pave the way for today’s successes.
“Each of these individuals - Mariam Sultan, Mohammad F. Gazzaz, and Mohammad Al-Sanousi – has made a significant contribution to the Arab film and television industry. Their dedication and a deeply ingrained passion for the arts has helped the medium of films to gain a strong foothold in the region, as well as inspired thousands of youngsters to pursue their cinematic ambitions,” he said.
Actress Mariam Sultan awed audiences with her inaugural performance in Haroon Al Rashid in 1976. As one of the founding members of the Sharjah National Theatre, with theatrical experience spanning over four decades, she has been crowned the “Mother of Emirati Theatre Artists,” and is considered as the epitome of acting in the theatre scene. Sultan starred in Al Muftah which was screened at GFF 2009. Her striking repertoire include television series Ajeeb Khareeb, Umm Al Saif, Thal Al Yasmin, Haz ya Naseeb, Salfa Wa Salfa, Jannat Maryam, the local show Hayer Tayer and the short film The Key by Ahmad Al Zain. She is currently working on a project commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development to collect, archive and preserve the old local theatrical works.
The GFF honour also crowns the rich career of Saudi Arabian film and television director/producer Mohammad F. Gazzaz and his 40-plus years of international experience in production management with stations in Cairo, Jeddah, London, Tokyo, New York, Dubai, and France. Gazzaz produced more than 750 hours of television series, 14 feature films, 26 documentaries, 50 education programs and 15 music shows in the course of his career. His own works include Misery, narrating the story of Antoine Chekev, and My Universities a short film on Mahfouz Abdel-Rahman.
The producer/director Mohammad Al-Sanousi, Kuwait’s former Minister of Information, is also an industry veteran, having worked to shape MBC, one of the Arab world’s leading broadcasters. Al-Sanousi also served as media advisor to the UAE. Al-Sanousi has created and presented numerous programmes, with ‘Risalat – Al-Sanousi,’ being amongst the greatest. His body of work as a producer/director includes Al Risala, Omar Al-Mukhtar, the first Kuwaiti short feature film Al A’safa (The Storm), and several commercial films in USA. He produced eight television series on the Gulf region in 1967.