Gulf Film Festival Script Competition promotes domestic film production by UAE nationals

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Gulf Film Festival, the annual event celebrating Gulf cinema held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, is encouraging film production locally by UAE nationals through its third annual Script Competition.

In all, AED 120,000 will be presented to three winners to facilitate the making of films in the UAE for scripts submitted by UAE nationals. An eminent panel of jury will select the winners who will be rewarded AED 50,000 (first prize), AED 40,000 (second prize) and AED 30,000 (third prize).

GFF Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the Script Competition is one of the first initiatives directly aimed at encouraging the screenwriting talent of UAE nationals. “The objective of the competition is to encourage more UAE nationals to step forward and showcase their creativity in filmmaking. GFF, as part of its founding objective, supports them to make the films locally through the prize money.”

He added that in the past two years there has been good participation by UAE nationals in the competition. “Films and script writing are evolving fields in the country, and the talent of UAE nationals in scripting can be encouraged only through a focused approach such as the Script Competition.”

Winners of the Emirati Script Competition in 2009 include Ismail Abdulla, who won first place for the script of Al Meezan; Mohammad Hassan Ahmed came second for his script Gift and Fatima Al Mazroui won third prize for Noura’s Apple.

The remarkable evolution of UAE filmmaking was highlighted at the recent Dubai International Film Festival where several GFF 09 titles by UAE nationals were screened including Finding Mr & Mrs Right: Dubai Style, a documentary by Elhaam Sharaf and Hind Al Hammadi, third-year Applied Communications students at Dubai Women’s College. The film shared the modern youth’s thoughts on newfound freedom, family expectations and the qualities they expect of their ideal partner.

Nesf Galb (The Half Heart) by Bilal Abdullah, also an accomplished theatre director, was a powerful story on Arab familial ties through the eyes of an unmarried pregnant girl, while Amal’s Cloud by Rawia Abdullah, a mass communications student, pictured patience and hope – again through an individual’s eyes.

Emirati actor and director Nawaf Al Janahi highlighted the bonding between a terminally ill man and a thief with The Circle, and Once by Nayla Al Khaja revolved around a 17-year old Arab girl transforming herself into a beautiful young woman and questioning her relationship.

All scripts submitted for GFF must be original works by a sole author or collaboration between two writers, and must be submitted in Arabic. The script must form the basis of a film that requires shooting in the UAE. The winning scripts must be submitted for the fourth edition of GFF before February 1, 2011.

Entry is free and must be submitted before February 25, 2010 by completing the application form online (www.gulffilmfest.com). Gulf Film Festival 2010 is presented by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority in association with Dubai Studio City, and will be held from April 8 to 14.

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