Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Dubai International Film Festival is the premier film festival in the Middle East. The festival was founded in 2004, and since then it has been the most influential event for promoting Arab filmmakers on an international level.
The Dubai International Film Festival is a not-for-profit film festival that is organized by the Dubai Entertainment and Media Organization. This is the oldest film festival in the Middle East and continues to be the most influential and highly regarded film event in the Gulf region.
Each year, the number of films submitted increase, with the most recent number reaching almost 4,000. These films are then reviewed and pared down to about 200 finalists that will be shown at the festival. These films can be fiction or non-fiction and short length or feature length. The submitted films come from all over the world and each year the diversity of the applications continues to grow.
The Dubai International Film Festival has many different categories that the films are divided into. Categories include Gulf Voices, Cinema for Children, Arabian Nights, Celebration of Indian Cinema, and Cinema of Asia/Africa. There is also a new concept called “Rhythm & Reels” which features a live music performance after the screening of the film. This concept is the first of its kind in the Middle East and continues to be one of the most popular events.
The most popular award at the Dubai International Film Festival is the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors film legends from all over the world for the contributions that they have made to cinematic history. Previous winners of this prestigious award include Danny Glover, Sean Penn, and Michael Apted.
In 2006, the Muhr Awards were introduced. These awards are focused on finding the rising stars in the cinema world who are from the Gulf Region. A very generous cash prize of more than $575,000 is divided amongst the winners each year.
The 2014 Dubai International Film Festival is scheduled to take place from December 10 until December 17, 2014, but tickets are no longer available for purchase. The 2015 film festival will take place in December, but the official date is yet to be confirmed. Tickets will go on sale for the 2015 event in the spring, so visitors who wish to attend the festival are encouraged to purchase tickets as early as possible, given that they continue to sell out year after year.