The 6th edition of Gulf Film Festival began with a bang on 11th April, 2013 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai.
The Gulf Film Festival (GFF) is an annual non-profit cultural event that was conceived five years back in 2008. Since then, this festival has given the Gulf Film makers a platform to showcase their talent and promote it. Not only has it helped the regions filmmakers to help gain a stable platform but it also adds to the diverse cross section of stories and landscapes from the Gulf, building an interest within potential filmmakers residing in the region to come forth and show case their ability.
As mentioned GFF is not only a podium for established film makers but also for struggling film makers. And they support their cause by hosting four major competitions few months before the actual event, inviting interested candidates to submit their work. They also encourage various other facades of film making like:
Lights: Films that capture the multifaceted identity of the Gulf region
Intersections: An electric line up of short and independent films from across the world.
Films for children: A delightful selection of animation and short films for young viewers.
In this year GFF is proud to have received a total count of 169 films representing 43 countries. There will be 78 world premieres, 15 international films and 42 entries from the Middle East will be shown this year at the festival.
GFF Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “Each year our high expectations of audience turnout, enthusiasm and energy are far exceeded, and we are confident that 2013 will be no different. From increased industry activities to more free public screenings, we have done our utmost to welcome film lovers and industry professionals alike from the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.”
The rising number of entries just from the Middle East itself is overwhelming, proving that the Gulf also has brilliant film makers who have the potential to take Gulf cinema to its next level. One very good example is the opening film of the festival, Wadjda, directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first young woman film maker from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Wadjda, started out as a project at GFF’s Script Market in 2008, has gone on to capture the hearts of audiences and critics alike across the world with its simple story of a determined little Saudi girl who goes to great lengths to buy her own bicycle despite possible social repercussions. The film has won numerous awards, including 3 awards at the prestigious Venice Film Festival as well as the Muhr Arab Feature and Best Actress awards at the Dubai International Film Festival in December 2012.
Day one at the festival was very exciting and busy; hoping the excitement of the fest escalates with each coming day as the week rolls by.
By Srijita Chattopadhyay