DIFF reinstates its global position at Cannes

DIFF and Dubai Studio City were present at Cannes with a dedicated pavillion at the International Film Festival (SUPPLIED)

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) reinstated its global status with active participation at the 61st Cannes Film Festival.

DIFF launched a series of successful events and networking opportunities that brought together global film players and industry representatives interested in doing business in the region and promote Dubai's emerging film talent to the world.

DIFF and Dubai Studio City were present at Cannes with a dedicated pavilion at the International Village of the Cannes Film Festival.

The pavilion aimed to establish the UAE as a regional filmmaking hub and attract global industry players to the UAE as a one-stop place for all their filmmaking needs.

The festival management played host to a series of productive industry gatherings, including a reception for festival directors that witnessed representation from 30 of the most prolific film festivals in the world, including Cannes, Rome, Berlin, Beirut, Sundance, Stockholm, Venice, and Durban among others.

The event confirmed DIFF's positioning as a festival committed to promoting cross cultural dialogue by bringing together some of the top festival heads such as Marco Mueller (Venice), Geoffrey Gilmore (Sundance), Jerome Paillard (Cannes) and Beki Probst (Berlin) on one platform.

Two other industry gatherings; the producers network reception and the Dubai Film Connection (DFC) lunch brought together film executives from the international filmmaking community, introducing them to the various initiatives at DIFF that aim to increase the presence of Arab films on a global level.

Nearly 200 industry representatives, including registered members of the Cannes Producers Network, attended the producers network reception that aimed to pair international industry players with Arab filmmakers, re-enforcing the talent and creativity that is coming from this region.

The DFC lunch event aimed to interest potential projects from the Arab world and international film financers towards the Dubai Film Connection scheduled during DIFF in December.

In addition to the above, Shivani Pandya, DIFF's Managing Director, was invited as the guest of honour to the producer's network breakfast meetings by the Cannes festival management.

Pandya shared views on DIFF's evolution as an international platform that seeks to bring both the eastern and western cinematic cultures closer and its various industry initiatives with an interactive audience of producers from across the globe.

The producers network has built up to become the most important networking platform for producers in Cannes gathering 500 producers from around the world, and helping them connect through a range of comprehensive programmes and initiatives.

Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of DIFF, said: "The events at Cannes carry forward our credo of 'Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds' as the Dubai International Film Festival grows into its role as a cultural ambassador of the UAE on a global level. Dubai has so much to offer as a production hub and centre of emerging talent and the interest at Cannes has been overwhelming. We hope that our festival can serve to facilitate a global discourse on important world issues, using the medium of film.

"At DIFF, we have a collective far reaching goal. Our aim is not just to grow into a platform for the best in Arab and international cinema – our vision extends to establishing Dubai as an important cultural and entertainment destination."

The industry office will once again operate as a platform for networking between UAE and international filmmakers, producers and sales agents, with newer initiatives being introduced as part of the Dubai Film Connection activities scheduled between 13-17 December.

The fifth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will run from December 11 to December 18.