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Dubai International Film Festival

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Dubai International Film Festival / Dubai Film Festival (DIFF)

The correct name is 'Dubai International Film Festival', or DIFF, but it is often just called the 'Dubai Film Festival'. The DIFF is held annually, under the auspices of Dubai Media City, in early December. The first Dubai Film Festival in 2004 was regarded as very successful by the organisers and cinema-goers. In 2005, the DIFF saw the popular films sold out well in advance and it was attended by a range of industry personnel and celebrities. The 2006 film festival was just as successful, with long queues of hopeful patrons waiting for spare tickets at major screenings (and usually missing out - book early for the good ones).

The film festival is one of those events that is really worth making an effort to attend, with the opportunity to see films you're unlikely to see as a normal release, especially as there are almost no independent cinemas in Dubai. You also get to listen to some commentary from one or more of the directors, actors, actresses, producers as many of the films have them attending in the flesh and answering questions before and after a showing. An excellent, sober, cultural, memorable alternative to the usual booze-fuelled events like the Dubai Rugby 7s (also good fun, but for different reasons), which is on a week or two before the Dubai Film Festival.

The austere and highly respected journal of current affairs (ahem), The USA Today, included the DIFF in a July 2007 article called 'Where in the World are the Hottest Film Fests?'. Other events that made it into the list with DIFF included Cannes, the Locarno Festival, the London Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and Sundance. We're at a loss to explain how such obscure events made it on to the same list as the DIFF.

As Dubai Media City (DMC) is a free zone in Dubai, films are not subject to censorship (even though most films are shown in locations outside the free zone). Apparently. Anyway, astute viewers will notice that, whatever the reason, uncut versions of films are shown. Don't expect to see anything hard core though.

Some film screenings are at the Madinat Jumeirah or Dubai Media City, but most are shown at the Mall of the Emirates (MOTE) cinema complex.

For residents of Dubai with an interest in the film industry and some spare time, the DIFF needs volunteers to help run the film festival. Volunteers are unpaid but get to see the films and go to other DIFF events. Apply via the DIFF website a month or two before the event.

There is usually a focus on attempting to showcase regional Arab and Iranian films in addition to internationally acclaimed new releases. DIFF also serves as an event to inspire and encourage the Dubai and UAE film industry (although Dubollywood is not quite up there with Hollywood and Bollywood yet, and no one will ever be able to pronounce UAEollywood).

The associated organisations, DIFF Industry Office and the Dubai Film Connection, support and encourage regional Arab film producers and directors with various initiatives and information exchange platforms, with links to ART (Saudi Arabia), Good News Group (Egypt), Royal Film Commission (Jordan), Sundance Institute (USA), Meda Films Development (Morocco), Berlinale (Germany), the World Cinema Fund, and the Producers Network in Cannes.

Dubai International Film Festival awards and prizes
DIFF and Capital Regions for Cinema (CRC)

2012 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF 2012) - 9th edition

2011 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF 2011) - 8th edition

2010 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF 2010) - 7th edition

2009 Dubai International Film Festival - Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds

2009 DIFF Volunteer Program
2009 DIFF jobs

2008 Dubai International Film Festival

2007 Dubai International Film Festival - Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds

Full DIFF film program available from the DIFF website, same schedule usually reprinted in daily UAE newspapers. DIFF 2007 Festival Guide booklet is available from box offices, and is much easier to navigate for details of films than the DIFF website.

Ticket deals Price Notes
Standard tickets 25 dhs Not for Gala or Rhythm & Reels screenings
25 TIX deal 500 dhs 25 standard tickets for the price of 20
10 TIX deal 225 dhs 10 standard tickets for the price of 9
Day Pass deal 300 dhs 20 standard tickets for screenings before 6pm, one per show only
Red Carpet Gala tickets 80 dhs Children 50 dhs for Cinema for Children Gala only
Red Carpet deal 375 dhs 1 ticket for each gala screening 10-14 December 2007
Screen on the Green Free Ticket still needed, arrive early. Not Rhythm & Reel screenings.
Rhythm & Reels 175 dhs Dubai Media City amphitheatre film + concert
Rhythm & Reels deal 450 dhs 1 ticket to each Rhythm & Reel show 13-15 Dec 2007

Tickets available online, or at box offices (10am-10pm) in Mall of the Emirates, Grand Cineplex, Souk Madinat, Dubai Media City CNN building (10am-6pm), or tel DIFF +971-4-3676701.

Rhythm & Reels

Rhythm & Reels is a series of movies and live concerts at the Dubai Media City amphitheatre, headlined by the world premiere of 90 Mille - a film about Latin American music. The film will be followed by a performance from Floria Estefan - the first time for her in the Middle East.

DIFF 2007 update 24 December 2007

2006 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF)

DIFF contact details
MINI Film Festival 2007

The MINI Film Festival 2007, supported by BMW Group Middle East and DIFF, is open for submissions until 01 November 2007. Amateur filmmakers from the region can submit short films up to 15 minutes long. The theme for the 2007 MINI Film Festival is "INCREDIBLY _______". Film submission must adhere to Islamic and local customs, and not contain any nudity or political content. The term MINI can be seen to mean both a short film, and a reference to the MINI car manufactured by BMW.

Last update Friday 14-Sep-2012
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