The Dubai International Film Festival will play a large role in making Dubai a global centre for art and film and consolidate its role in building bridges between cultures from across the world, said Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Department of Civil Aviation, ...

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Published: Tue 13 Dec 2005, 1:05 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:50 PM

Chairman of the Emirates Group, declaring the festival open at the Madinat Jumeirah on Sunday evening.

Neil D. Stephenson, CEO and Festival Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: "The festival was born from a central idea that Dubai should use its historic position at a multicultural crossroads to host an international film festival that would act as a cultural bridge and serve as an instrument of global understanding between East and West, between the Arab and non-Arab worlds."

The festival has grown considerably since its first edition in 2004 when 76 films from 25 countries participated in the festival. This year, the second edition is stronger, more diverse and more accessible. The DIFF has grown 28 per cent in the span of one year and is exhibiting 98 films from a total of 46 countries and five continents. Dubai is hosting hundreds of filmmakers and industry delegates from around the world.

"We are building strongly on our two flagship goals — one, to be a world destination and platform of excellence for Arab cinema and two, to continue the construction of our very important cultural bridge. We have also redoubled our efforts to bring the best of world cinema to the UAE and to the Arab world, and in offering the best of Arab cinema to the rest of the world," said Neil.

New sections in films for DIFF 2005 focus on cinema from Africa, Europe and East Asia, an expanded palette of Arab cinema and a special programme dedicated to young and upcoming UAE filmmakers.

"Dubai is no longer just a place where the world meets to do business. It is also where the world meets to talk, share ideas, discuss important world issues and is now a bridge between cultures," concluded Neil.

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