A jury of eminent film professionals and cultural leaders will judge this year’s Official Competitions for professionals and students and the Script Competition for Emirati Short Films at the Gulf Film Festival, 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 film competition jury is headed by accomplished Moroccan filmmaker Jillali Ferhati. He is joined by Saudi Arabian filmmaker and critic Mohammed Aldhahri; Emirati actor Ibrahim Salim; Yemeni filmmaker Khadija Al-Salami and Artistic Director of the International Film Festival Bratislava in Slovakia Matthieu Darras. The jury for the Script Competition comprises Qatari scriptwriter Widad Al Kuwairi, Saudi columnist Badriya Abdullah Al Bashar and UAE writer Amina Abu-Shehab.
The film jury will assess features, documentaries and shorts that are currently being short-listed for the in-competition section. GFF will present three prizes in each of the categories in the Official Competition for professionals, and for short and documentary categories in the Students Competition. There will be a Special Jury Prize in both categories.
The script jury comprising three distinguished writers from the region will adjudicate the selected entries, awarding a total of AED 120,000 toward promising film projects from UAE Nationals. In all, awards worth AED 485,000 will be presented to professions and student filmmakers.
GFF Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “The jury for the in-competition section of Gulf Film Festival is a representative cross-section of Arab cinema and culture today, encompassing some of the most prominent cinematic figures this region has ever seen.“
He added: “The in-competition sections at Gulf Film Festival are a true talent showcase of the finest cinema centred on life in the Gulf and by regional filmmakers. The recognition at the festival helps them to take these movies to a wider audience and strengthen the region’s film industry.”
Legendary actor/director/writer Jillali Ferhati has over 32 years of cinematic experience. Ferhati’s collected works include renowned films such as Brèche dans le Mu (A Breach in the Wall), and Mémoire en detention (Memory in Detention). The UAE premiere of his movie Dakira Mootakala was screened at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in the ‘Arabian Nights’ segment. He also has served as a jury member at DIFF and several other leading international film festivals.
Yemen’s first woman filmmaker, Khadija Al-Salami, was instrumental in altering the biases in the Yemeni film industry. Al-Salami has produced over 20 documentaries, including ‘Women of Islam,’ ‘Land of Sheba,’ and ‘Amina,’ which won the second prize at the Muhr Arab Awards in DIFF 2006.
Emirati director/actor Ibrahim Salem is among the pioneers in establishing the Modern Theatre and the Theatre Union in Sharjah. He is known for his theatrical creations including Al Muwatan Antre, Kariben Men, and Anaha Zogaga Faragha, among others.
Saudi director Mohammad Aldhahri’s film Shurouq/Ghroub (Sunrise/Sunset) won the Muhr Arab Shorts Award at DIFF last year and clinched the second prize in the Official Competition for Short Films at GFF last year. Aldhahri is a graduate in pharmacology.
Artistic Director of the International Film Festival Bratislava in Slovakia Matthieu Darrashas served as a FIPRESCI jury member in Mumbai (India), Cracow (Poland), Con-Can Festival, Japan, and the Istanbul Independent Film Festival (Turkey), among others.
Widad Al-Kuwairi has contributed to the literary growth of the region through her short stories for children, radio and television scripts, and her regular column in the Qatari newspaper Al Arab. Having begun her career as a television presenter for children’s programming, Widad has dedicated herself to the written word.
Badriya Abdullah Al Bishr writes a weekly column in the Saudi magazine, Yamama and contributes to newspapers in the country regularly. She is the author of the acclaimed novel, Al Arjuhah (The Swing) and UAE national Amina Abu-Shehab writes for weekly magazines and newspapers including Kul Al Usra and Al Khaleej, in addition to short stories and articles on cultural issues.
The third edition of the Gulf Film Festival will be held from April 8 to April 14. 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.
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