Maey El Shoush | April 16, 2013
A new initiative aimed at funding and supporting Emirati feature films and documentaries was announced today during the Gulf Film Festival. Filmi, is in partnership between the Dubai International Film Festival, the Gulf Film Festival and Watani.
The budget starts at Dh1million for a minimum of four projects, over two Enjaaz cycles beginning this year, after the project officially launches 1 May.
A key objective is to support filmmakers financially and logistically, in order for them to then take their films to festivals around the world. The fund is available for both new and emerging talent from the UAE.
Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of the Dubai International Film Festival says the initiative is exactly what the team has been searching for, for the past 10 years.
“Since the beginning of DIFF, we have been trying to convince all institutions including private companies to invest in movies. Emirati filmmakers have been focusing largely on short films, now we are taking it to another level,” says Juma. “This is very exciting, and we hope it will continue.”
The director general of Watani, H.E. Dherar Belhoul, said the partnership is about broadening the support for Emirati filmmakers – one which he says, will open “new doors” for the local community.
“I truly believe in this project and it is needed ‘today’. We will ensure the fees, rates and clearances are also eased because we will personally be involved. We will help facilitate everything which is why it is not just simply about the budget,” says Belhoul. “Next year, I’m positive we will see many more Emirati-made films. Our goal is for one of our films to receive an Oscar.”
Belhoul also mentioned a project currently in development which will be an animated true story of an Emirati man who “sacrificed his life for the country”. More details to be revealed soon. The film is due to be released next year.