Capital gains for film industry

(SUPPLIED)   

 
 

For many people the annual Dubai International Film Festival is a cultural highlight of the year. But this month budding filmmakers won’t have to wait until December as the seventh edition of the Emirates Film Competition takes place next week.

 

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the seven-day festival will show films as well as help nurture local talent with the launch of several exciting new award categories.

 

With just a few days to the launch of the festival, Abdallah Bastaki, Director of Emirates Film Competition, told Emirates Business: “This is a speechless moment for me. There is so much work to do and yet so little time, but we have a fantastic list of films this year and new sections within the competition that will allow filmmakers within the UAE to broaden their horizons and experiment with new technology.”

 

The first segment is the Emirates Competition, which aims to promote short films produced in the country. It is spread across nine categories, including docudrama, fiction, animation and advertisement, among others. This competition accepted entries from the general public and students.

 

A new category this year is Science-Fiction, which is sub-divided into FireFlies, Supernatural, Viral Genetics and Space and Time Anomalies, says Bastaki. While Fireflies will show films about UFOs, Viral Genetics looks into deadly viruses. He added: “Space and Time Anomalies screens films on possible catastrophes occurring when the Earth’s gravitational energy goes out of sync, while Supernatural movies will see zombies and the living dead invading the screens.”

 

The competition, which allows young directors to make their mark in the growing film industry, has been amended this year to include arthouse movies from around the world, provided that a part of the project is produced in the UAE. Bastaki says more creative freedom has also been allowed, with participants from the UAE not being limited to showcasing Emirati culture. However, the same freedom has not been offered to films in the GCC Competition category.

 

Besides these groupings, the event will also show films screened under the banners: Arabic Panorama, International Panorama and Special Screening.

 

Talking about the growth of the country’s organic film industry, Bastaki says the real potential is yet untapped. “Filmmakers in the UAE are like lion cubs trapped in a dark room, trying to scratch their way into the light. Support from the country’s film festivals is non-existent, as they seem to be more of a PR exercise,” he says.

 

Bastaki has nothing but praise for the capital’s plans to promote film investment in the UAE via the Film Commission and the Film Fund. “Within five years, I do visualise the building of local studios, sound stages and all facilities that will facilitate major studios like Warner Bros in Abu Dhabi and Dreamworks in Dubai to bring in the international clientele and money,” he says.

 

This year, the value of the awards has been increased to Dh1.02 million from the previous Dh220,000.

 

There are also three Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage-sponsored awards for a UAE feature film script. Winners will be able to attend the Cannes International Film Festival and their films will be screened at the capital’s Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF).

 

The Films from Emirates competition (its original identity) was launched in 2001 to lay the foundation for a UAE movie industry and gather innovative human resources from the country to create an image that reflects Emirati heritage.

 

 

The Prizes are…

 

Emirates Film Competition Grant Awards

First Prize        Dh250,000

Second Prize  Dh150,000

Third Prize       Dh100,000

 

Emirates Competition Awards (General)

Prize for short fiction film      Dh40,000

Prize for short documentary film        Dh40,000

Special Jury prize        Dh40,000

Prize for best screenplay         Dh30,000

Acknowledgment will be given to

distinguished works and their makers

 

Emirates Competition Awards (Students)

Prize for short fiction film      Dh20,000

Prize for short documentary film        Dh20,000

Special Jury prize        Dh20,000

Acknowledgment will be given to

distinguished works and their makers

 

GCC Competition Awards (General)

Prize for short fiction film      Dh50,000

Prize for short documentary film        Dh50,000

Special Jury prize        Dh50,000

Acknowledgment will be given to

distinguished works and their makers

 

GCC Competition Awards (Students)

Prize for short fiction film      Dh20,000

Prize for short documentary film        Dh20,000

Special Jury prize        Dh20,000

Acknowledgment will be given to

distinguished works and their makers

 

UAE and GCC Awards for Filmmakers (General)

Prize for Best Gulf Scriptwriter          Dh30,000

Prize for Best Gulf Cameraman          Dh12,000

Prize for Best Gulf Editor      Dh12,000

Prize for Best Gulf Animator/Visual

Effects Artist  Dh12,000

Prize for Best Gulf Actor       Dh12,000

Prize for Best Gulf Poster Design      Dh3,000

 

UAE and GCC Awards for Filmmakers (Students)

Prize for Best Gulf Scriptwriter          Dh20,000

Prize for Best Gulf Cameraman          Dh8,000

Prize for Best Gulf Editor      Dh8,000

Prize for Best Gulf Animator/Visual

Effects Artist  Dh8,000

Prize for Best Gulf Actor       Dh8,000

Prize for Best Gulf Poster Design      Dh2,000

 

 

Jury

 

The winners will be selected by a jury panel comprising four members qualified in visual arts and literature.


The names of the judges had not been announced at the time of going to press.

 

 

Additional awards

 

Five scholarships to study at Abu Dhabi Film Academy will be offered to the winners of the previous years. This year’s top winners will attend the Cannes International Film Festival and will be escorted by a delegation from the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.

 

 
 
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