Dubai International Film Festival

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Dubai International Film Festival
مهرجان دبي السينمائي الدولي
Location Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Founded 2004
Language Arabic

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) (Arabic: مهرجان دبي السينمائي الدولي‎) is an annual film festival held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Each year DIFF presents new and exciting cinema from the Arab world, Asia, Africa and beyond. The 11th edition will be held from December 10 to 17, 2014.[1][dated info]


The DIFF is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It is a not-for-profit cultural event, presented and organised by Dubai Entertainment & Media Organization.

Launched in 2004, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is the oldest film festival in the Gulf region. It is guided by the credo "Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds." by showcasing short films and features in fiction and non-fiction narratives from around the world.

The festival's prestigious Muhr Emirati, Arab and AsiaAfrica Awards recognise outstanding talent from the region, presenting over US$575,000 in prize money to Muhr Award winners. The DIFF has also pioneered several industry initiatives within its Dubai Film Market designed to support and develop the Arab cinema industry. The Market runs concurrently with the festival and is attended annually by over 1,700 delegates from more than 90 countries.

Film programme[edit]

The DIFF's highly acclaimed film programme presents cinema from around the world encompassing a range of topical and universal themes.

In 2013 DIFF screened a line-up of 174 feature films, shorts and documentaries from around the world including 70 world premieres, 11 international premieres and the festival reported its highest attendance record to date.

Opening the 2013 Festival was the Oscar nominated “Omar”, by Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe winning Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad.

The films, from 57 countries, in 43 languages, spanned the DIFF's prestigious competition and popular out-of-competition segments, attracting more than 56,000 in audience attendance.

The line-up this year was selected from 3,500 submissions from 143 countries and was considered to the most remarkable, competitive and diverse selection to date.

Out of Competition[edit]

DIFF's out-of-competition selection is as diverse as it is unique.

It includes:

• Arabian Nights • Gulf Voices • Cinema of the World • Celebration of Indian Cinema • Cinema of AsiaAfrica • Cinema for Children

Each year, the programme incorporates a special In Focus section. Previous In Focus sections have showcased cinema from China, Italy, France, Mexico and Germany.

The festival's Rhythm & Reels concept, a first in the region, follows film screenings with a live music performance.

Muhr Awards[edit]

Since 2006, the Muhr Awards have honoured more than 190 Emirati, Arab, Asian and African film-makers and talent. The competition and awards have raised the profile of the winners and made DIFF a destination to discover the best of the region's cinema.

Adjudicated by prestigious juries that bring together esteemed international and regional talent, the Muhr Awards present 31 honours and disburses prize money of more than $575,000(USD).

The categories include:

• Muhr Arab Feature • Muhr Arab Documentary • Muhr Arab Short • Muhr Emirati • Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature • Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary • Muhr AsiaAfrica Short

FIPRESCI Awards[edit]

Each year, the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) presents the annual "Prize of International Critics" for Arab feature films, documentaries and short screened at DIFF.

People's Choice Award[edit]

The festival's People's Choice Award honors the best film, as adjudicated by the audiences.

Variety International Star of the Year[edit]

Since 2009, Variety has presented its ‘International Star of the Year’ award at DIFF. Recipients of the award have included Owen Wilson, Gerard Butler and Colin Firth.

IWC Filmmaker Award

In 2012, the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Award was launched with a cash prize of US$ 100,000 offering the financial means to help the winning filmmaker transfer their vision to the screen.

Cate Blanchett headed the jury for the second year and was joined by Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of DIFF and Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of DIFF. The award was won by filmmaker Waleed Al Shehhi, for his work “Dolphins”.

Lifetime Achievement Awards[edit]

Each year, DIFF honours several legends from the Arab world, Asia/Africa and the West for their outstanding contribution to cinema. In 2013 the honorees were multi Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Martin Sheen and veteran Egyptian film critic Samir Farid.

Previous recipients of DIFF's Lifetime Achievement Awards include: • Morgan Freeman (2005) • Omar Sharif, Oliver Stone, Nabil Maleh, Shahrukh Khan (2006) • Danny Glover, Im Kwon-taek, Youssef Chahine (2007) • Terry Gilliam, Rachid Bouchareb, Charles Roven (2008) • Tsui Hark, Amitabh Bachchan, Faten Hamama (2009) • Souleymane Cissé, Sabah, Sean Penn (2010) • Gamil Ratib, A. R. Rahman, Werner Herzog (2011) • Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Michael Apted (2012)

Dubai Film Market: "From Script to Screen"[edit]

The Dubai Film Market is the business centre of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). It is the leading industry platform in the world dedicated to Arab cinema and is attended annually by over 1,700 industry professionals from more than 90 countries.

It is the destination to discover the best cinema from the region and has established a number of pioneering initiatives to support and showcase Arab film-makers.

The Market's initiatives cover every aspect of cinema - from script to screen – from talent and professional development through to film sales. The Market comprises

• Film Forum • Dubai Film Connection • Filmmart • Enjaaz • Exchange


This tenth edition's Red Carpet Opening Gala presented the acclaimed “Omar”, by Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad. Accompanying the film in its UAE premiere was Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe winning Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad alongside the films cast members Adam Bakri, Eyad Hourani and Waleed Zuaiter.

Celebrities in attendance included: Academy Award-winning actress and Head of the Jury for the IWC Filmmaker Award Cate Blanchett, Martin Sheen, Michael B Jordan, Jaaved Jaffrey, Jim Sheridan, Eugene Domingo, Murat Yildirim, Burcin Terziogluand, Metem Cumbul, Yuya Yagira, Justin Chadwick, Micheal Pena, Scott Cooper, and Sanjay Suri. Asmahan Tawfik, Malak, Mashari Al-Ballam, Shahed, Ihbahim Al- Harbi, Adulaziz Jassim, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Nayla Al Khaja, Sana Younis, Habib Ghloum, Ahmad Al-Jasmi, Ali Mostafa, Khalid Al Mahmood, Waleed Ziaiter, Abdullah Al Junaibi, Nujoom Al Ghanem and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi.

Previous editions have been graced by A-listers including Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Anil Kapoor, Brad Bird Colin Firth, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, George Clooney, Oliver Stone, Nicolas Cage, Gerard Butler, Salma Hayek, Orlando Bloom, Terry Gilliam, Richard Gere, HM Queen Noor of Jordan, Omar Sharif, Adel Imam, Duraid Lahham, Daoud Abdul Sayed, Hussein Fahmi, Ben Affleck, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Freida Pinto and Giancarlo Giannini, among others.


External links[edit]