There is a great deficit in quality entries from the UAE and Middle East region participating in events like the just-concluded international Emmy's semi-final, and these countries should make concerted efforts to have a greater number of cultural and literary works represented at such ...

By Anupama V Chand

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Published: Thu 12 Aug 2004, 1:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:32 AM

competitions, the Executive Director of the American International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS), told City Times on Monday.

Georges Leclere urged greater involvement by local artistes and production companies, and hoped enhancing awareness of the IATAS' activities in the region, would help bring in the much-needed local flavour to the Emmys. He said that the IATAS, which presently has over 400 members and representatives from 61 countries and over 250 companies, is also trying to increase membership from UAE and the Gulf States, which presently amounted to 30 members. Etisalat's E-Vision has just become a member of the Academy.

He noted that discussions were also on with the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT), co-sponsors of the semi-final event, to increase awareness through student and faculty exchanges, seminars and workshops, and perhaps internships sponsored in collaboration with local media organisations, like CNBC.

"These internships would include visit facilities to either New York or Los Angeles, depending on whether the interest of the students was News or Fiction. However, I really can't comment on this issue, which is being done in collaboration with Prime Time Emmy Awards. We are also thinking of seminars to spread the word among creative people here, so that they would be motivated to submit their work," he said.

"This is not the first time we are organising a semi-final in Dubai, the last one under the auspices of the Dubai Media City (DMC) was also very successful, this is the first time we are this visible however, and I hope this augurs well for greater participation from the region the next time around, the judging was of a high calibre and the four finalists we have selected will have a chance to prove their mettle at the 32nd International Emmy Awards Gala scheduled to take place in New York City on November 22nd" Leclere pointed out.

He said that the judges had divided the entire world into four groups - Asia and Africa, Europe, Latin America and countries with English as First Language.

"In fact our semi-final in Dubai is significant, because it is the only event we do abroad that has the judges and jurors physically present, unlike at the finals where votes are simply counted and winners declared, there is no physical meeting. For the regional semis, we had two programmes from each region competing among themselves, and three jurors from each region, taking care to ensure that no juror was ever responsible for judging entrants from his own region," he noted.

"I would dearly love to see more regional entries for the Non Scripted category (comprising of reality shows, TV shows and Game Shows) and for the Comedies for both of which there were no entries this time, bewildering, given that the Arab World is supposed to produce such a plethora of comedies. I understand that reality shows are also in their infancy here, so hopefully this picture is beginning to change," he averred.

Georges Leclere noted that the objective of the Emmy's in addition to recognising excellence in television programming, was to promote greater networking and collaboration among its members, in the greater interest of the TV and entertainment industry as a whole. He hoped such efforts would bring the Middle East region more into the spotlight and encourage a more convivial literary and cultural climate here.

He also had a word of advice for the next event that could be held anywhere in the region, not necessarily in Dubai, although the initiative had to come from the concerned country. "This experience was good, and our expectations for the 2005-2006 semi-final is to allow some of the members to make the jury selection, while recommending that at least half the jurors are from the area itself.

The four finalists for this year's event in the Best Non-Scripted Entertainment category were "The Fountain of Trivia" by Japan's Fuji Television Network and "One More Chance" by Taiwan's Eastern Broadcasting Corporation. The finalists for Best Comedy were "Under One Roof” by Singapore's MediaCorp TV, and South Africa Broadcasting Corporation's "Stokvel" from the African continent.

"We had over a 1000 guests at the Dubai semi-final, and the gala was actually addressed by the Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, which speaks volumes for the importance it has been accorded, we are hoping next year for more involvement and membership participation from countries like Oman and Bahrain," he concluded.

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