Dubai International Film Festival
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is the leading film festival in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Since its inception in 2004, the festival has served as an influential platform for Arab filmmakers and talent at an international level, by spearheading the cinema movement in the region.
DIFF has established itself as a major international festival, while continuing to serve as a premier showcase event for Arab cinema, and contributing to the development and growth of the regional industry. DIFF has also extended its platform to present and honour excellence in cinema from countries in Asia and Africa. Independent and established talents from Asian and African countries with a burgeoning cinema culture are given prominent standing in the festival’s programme and competition.
DIFF’s pioneering initiatives, such as the Muhr Awards and Dubai Film Market, have enriched professional experiences in the region, while also raising the profile of regional works on the world stage.
The festival has left an indelible impression on its guests, industry professionals and viewers, through its events, workshops, seminars and principal mandate of presenting the finest selection of cinema from all over the world. DIFF is a frontrunner in promoting better cultural understanding through creative achievements in film.
Located at the crossroads of the world, Dubai’s film festival was created in December 2004 to serve as a cultural bridge primarily between east and west, under the theme ‘Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds’. It uses the universal language of cinema to boost dialogue and mutual understanding.
At the Dubai International Film Festival, audiences can now look forward to a broad collection of screenings and workshops, with sections including Arabian Nights, a Celebration of Indian Cinema, Cinema for Children and Gulf Voices.
Meanwhile for Asia-African, Arab and Emirati cinema, The Muhr competition recognises the wealth of emerging talent local to home with prize money of more than US$600,000.
It is also home to the Dubai Film Market, the largest and most comprehensive film market in the Arab world, a ‘script to screen’ initiative that offers unprecedented access to film and talent from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The Market is involved with every aspect of cinema, from talent development and co-production to production and post-production support and content trade and distribution.
With the festival continuing to grow in strength and popularity, we are seeing an increase in the availability of suitable titles, as filmmakers are vying to be part of the festival line-up. The festival titles are as diverse as they are unique.
Industry interest in The Dubai International Film Festival has grown over the years, due to the strength of its team and the quality of its offering. Year on year, it has successfully attracted the top industry delegates, festival scouts, media financiers and studios from more than 60 nations under one roof – offering an unprecedented, unmatched and gift-wrapped opportunity for Arab filmmakers and the Arab film industry.
A few of the Arab films which have benefited from screening at DIFF and the Dubai Film Market and have gone on to receive international recognition are: 678 (Six, Seven, Eight), the award-winning drama focusing on sexual harassment in Egypt; Paradise Now, the suicide bomber hit of 2004; City Of Life, the Emirati feature film, began as a Dubai Film Connection project before returning as a DIFF red carpet gala; and Captain Abu Raed, which made its world premiere at Dubai, was quickly picked up for a number of international festivals after its debut, and also went on to theatrical and international distribution.
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