First-Ever Documentary Festival in UAE


Under the patronage of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA) and the support of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), ‘Documentary Voices: Pulling Focus’, the region’s first ever film festival focusing exclusively on documentaries, will premiere in Dubai on 5th of July.

About 20 thought-provoking documentary films depicting various themes, including music, politics, war, peace, and faith, will be screened and critically reviewed during the event. To be selected by a panel of eminent experts in film, diplomacy, and the arts, the documentaries will be top-quality productions sourced from Arab countries, the US and Iran.
Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA) said, “As a hub for art and culture, Dubai is keen to create forums for artists to both showcase their talent and exchange ideas on their craft. Documentaries have created some of the most compelling perspectives of life and society in today’s world and through this festival we are seeking to raise the profile of documentary film making in the UAE. “

Documentary Voices: Pulling Focus will be produced by Whetstone Productions (US) and Caspian Events (Dubai). Anisa Mehdi, Founder and President of Whetstone Productions will be the Artistic Director and Mahshid Zamani, CEO of Caspian Events, the Managing Director of the event.

Documentary Voices: Pulling Focus will be inaugurated at 7:30 pm on 5 July to the tunes of Maestro Nader Mashayekhi and the Vienna-Tehran ensemble at the Dubai Knowledge Village. Running until 8 July, the event will feature a series of screenings and workshops that will see new and established filmmakers presenting and discussing diverse viewpoints on culture, society and development.

His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Managing Director of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA), said: “At their best, documentary films enhance our understanding and appreciation of social, economic and political issues and inspire change and action. Documentary Voices: Pulling Focus gives us a great opportunity to celebrate the art of documentary film-making. DCAA is supporting this event as part of our mission to promote events that drive the development of art and culture in our society.”

Anisa Mehdi, Artistic Director of Documentary Voices: Pulling Focus, said: “The event will provide a platform for presenting the works of established filmmakers while showcasing the freshness and originality of newcomers. It will also provide participants with rich networking opportunities and exposure to key industry contacts that can facilitate the relationships necessary for starting new projects.”

A veteran American news and documentary filmmaker, Mehdi has a track record in building bridges through reporting and interactive workshops among people of different cultures who share similar concerns. Mehdi devotes professional and personal time to productions that break stereotypes and amplify authentic voices from diverse communities.

Documentary Voices: Pulling Focus, hosted by Dubai Knowledge Village and also supported by Arab Media Group (AMG), will entertain and educate audiences of all ages, while providing filmmakers from the region an insight into production, financing, distribution and creative development. Filmmakers will attend the screenings of their work and engage with the audiences. They will also participate in an intensive schedule of workshops, master classes and symposium designed to hone skills, promote effective communication, and encourage networking.


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