As Dubai's nascent film industry gets a boost with the maiden Dubai International Film Festival, a number of youngsters — potential actors, directors and film technicians — who are keen to enter the glamorous world of movies are working with the festival as volunteers.

By V.m. Sathish (Contributor)

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Published: Sat 11 Dec 2004, 3:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Nov 2023, 3:02 PM

Taking advantage of a unique voluntary service scheme offered by the Dubai Media City and Dubai International Film Festival, many youngsters and college students from different city colleges have signed on to work as volunteers.

They work with the organisers to register celebrity visitors from the film world, journalists and other film fans. About 800 film celebrities attended the inaugural ceremony and for the youngsters, it was a golden opportunity to see them up close. One of the celebrity events included an interaction with the Hollywood star Morgan Freeman.

The DIFF 2004 consists of 10 sessions featuring a total of 80 films. The festival screening venues are Madinat area, the Madinat Theatre, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Auditorium and Dubai Media City Ampitheatre and the cinemas of Mercato. The volunteers work in these different venues without their college schedules being affected. "We have different shift system and our volunteer work does not clash with the festival timing," said a student of BITS Pilani. According to Dubai Women's College students, the volunteer work is part of their curriculum and the college is giving them all help in working for the DIFF.

Says Emran Al Jaffar Fardan, a Dubai Women’s College Communications student who works at the Registration and Information Desk of DIFF: “I am a third year communication student of Dubai Women’s college and many students from the college are working here as volunteers. In fact the DIFF organisers approached our college seeking volunteers and many of the communication students from the college are here.”

According to her, working in the first international film festival in Dubai is a great opportunity to meet celebrities and watch movies. About 10 students of Dubai Women’s College are working as volunteers. All these girls have a fascination for the silver screen and would like to work off screen in the production and post production sectors.

Volunteers have joined DIFF to meet celebrity filmmakers and actors and to watch their favourite movies. Says Heba Al Danhanni and Mai Kamali, two communications students of Dubai Women’s College: “DIFF is a great opportunity for us to meet film personalities. We are happy to be associated with it. As Dubai’s film industry develops, we would like to be part of it.” Some students said they always watch movies and there is no preference for Arabic or English movies. "We like Arabic movies. However, since the English film world is much bigger than the Arab film industry, we tend to watch English movies," said a volunteer student.

For students from various educational institutions in Knowledge Village, adjacent to the Dubai Media City, being part of the film festival is a great experience as they can meet their favourite stars and watch movies free of charge. "We got in as volunteers by registering through the film festival website. I have deep interest in films and to be part of a major international film festival happening next door is a pleasant experience. Many of the students from BITS Pilani are working here as volunteers. We get various assignments and free passes to watch some movies and get access to film celebrities," says Rishabh Goyal, an engineering student.

In fact students living in the college hostel organise mini film festivals almost every night. About 60 students — both girls and boys — from the college are working here as volunteers, he added."It gives us a great opportunity to be in the limelight, get some exposure to the film world, meet our favourite actors and actresses, and watch movies," added Sandeep Saha, another Indian student from Knowledge Village.

It is a great opportunity for us to work in the film field, and if possible grab an acting chance in the long run, added another volunteer.

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