Mentoring, on-the-job skills are twin strategies of DIFF Young Journalist Award


Share knowledge, build skills and give room to apply acquired skills – that is the essence of the Dubai International Film Festival Young Journalist Award programme held this year in partnership with MBC Group.

Building on the success of the event last year, the DIFF Young Journalist Award significantly enhances budding journalists’ career development by providing students the opportunity to be mentored by subject experts and apply their skills in a realistic workplace setting.

DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya said cinema, globally, derives its growth impetus from the informed comments and analytical views of writers. “The DIFF Young Journalist Award is one of our key initiatives aimed at capacity-building within the local community,” she said. “It is imperative that we not only share the knowledge but also foster film students’ competitiveness for potential careers through hands-on training. DIFF achieves this through our unique mentoring programme, where they can work under the tutelage of accomplished film professionals.”

This year’s mentorship programme is led by Scott Macaulay, from Filmmaker Magazine and Producer, Forensic Films, and Colin Brown, formerly at Screen International and now at CNBC Business, who will provide specific and in-depth training to a select group of 10 students nominated by UAE-based universities.

Mazen Hayek, Group Director of Marketing, PR & Commercial at MBC Group said: “Our support of the DIFF Young Journalist Award is a key part of MBC’s corporate strategy to foster young Arab talent, sharpen skills, build links with the local community and develop the next generation of film journalists.” Hayek also added: “Content and creative industries are major job creators and have become an integral part of economic activity – hence the capital importance of this partnership between DIFF and MBC Group.”

The main goal is to provide the participants real experience with feedback and tutoring from professional film critics and film journalists. Students will work as news teams, covering events and screenings from December 9 to 14, learning the skills of the trade and honing their journalistic awareness. Although the workshop is organized in co-operation with the film festival, the output from the participants will remain journalistically independent.

The other key component of the programme is the series of open journalism workshops and panel discussions during the first three days of the festival. Topics covered include film review and criticism, film business writing, new technologies like blogging and film festival coverage. The workshops are open to students in the UAE who are currently enrolled in either journalism, film studies, PR or mass media and communications courses.

Now in its sixth year, DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and will be held from December 9 to 16. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). For more information on the festival, please visit


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