Impressive line up, brilliant execution

DUBAI — In a fitting testament to the success of the Gulf Film Festival in fostering Emirati film talent, the fourth edition of the Gulf Film Festival will feature an impressive roster of brilliantly executed Emirati films. Vying for the top honours in the Gulf Competition at the Gulf Film Festival for short and documentary, these Emirati films accentuate the new wave of cinematic talent in the UAE.

By Deepa Narwani

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Published: Mon 18 Apr 2011, 11:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:19 AM

Ahmed Al Naqbi director of the two minute film Khayarat (Choices) told Khaleej Times about his journey into films. “I am actually the first Emirati to have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Filmmaking,” he said.

“I learnt the craft in California. I feel what is lacking in the region is a clear idea of what specialisation people should get into. There is a need for a good film school in the region that would build the basics properly.”

Khayarat revolves around a man who comes home from work and is suspicious of his wife having an affair. Ahmed said: “Short films are harder to make than feature films because who have so less time to convey the feeling effectively.”

Ahmed plans to get a feature film out by the end of the year and feels that GFF is a great platform to encourage people to sit up and release their area of expertise.

Three Act Circus directed by Noush Like Sploosh and Fathima Mohiuddin is the story of three archetypal characters overwhelmed by a kind of beautiful chaos. It is a four minute dark, playful melodrama told in the format of an illustrated song.

“We completed the shooting of the film in seven days,” said Noush Like Sploosh. “The film has been independently produced and was made in my parent’s garage in Dubai. GFF makes filmmakers more active in the region. The exposure you get is quite good and it gives space for feedback.” GFF 2011 is screening 153 films from 31 nations until April 20.

The festival is being held at the InterContinental Hotel, Crowne Plaza and Grand Cinemas at Dubai Festival City.

The Gulf Film Festival box office is open from 10.30 am to 10 pm daily at the Grand Cinemas Dubai Festival City.

The festival will this year honour three individuals who have contributed to the growth and evolution of Arab cinema: Emirati actress Mariam Sultan, Saudi director/producer Mohammad F Gazzaz, and Kuwaiti producer/director Mohammad Al-Sanousi.

Actress Mariam Sultan awed audiences with her inaugural performance in Haroon Al Rashid in 1976. As one of the founding members of the Sharjah National Theatre, with theatrical experience spanning over four decades, she has been crowned the “Mother of Emirati Theatre Artists,” and is considered as the epitome of acting in the theatre scene. “It was a difficult journey but at the same time very rewarding,” she said. “I left school but this world gave me the education I needed and taught me a lot about life.”

She added that GFF is an encouragement for the youth of today to showcase their talent and work harder and also gives an incentive to them to achieve their goals.

Sultan starred in Al Muftah which was screened at GFF 2009.

Her striking repertoire include television series Ajeeb Khareeb, Umm Al Saif, Thal Al Yasmin, Haz ya Naseeb, Salfa Wa Salfa, Jannat Maryam, the local show Hayer Tayer and the short film The Key by Ahmad Al Zain.

She is currently working on a project commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development to collect, archive and preserve the old local theatrical works.

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