By Andy Sambidge
Organisers say they saw double digit audience growth in 2011 showcase for film makers
The fifth edition of the Gulf Film Festival, the home of experimental and contemporary cinema from the Arabian peninsula, will be held in Dubai from April 10-16, it has been announced.
The festival, an incubator and showcase of Gulf talent, is going from strength to strength, organisers say.
Its fourth edition recorded double-digit audience growth, with more than 30 screenings going on standby across all categories of the festival.
Average cinema occupancy rose 11 percent to 60 percent and over half the festival’s screenings drew 60 percent or more capacity houses – including 21 screenings over 75 percent.
The fourth edition also brought global cinema legends including Gerard Courant and Abbas Kiarostami to the region.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, festival director, Gulf Film Festival, said: “The fifth edition of the Gulf Film Festival will once again highlight the emerging film talent in the Arabian peninsula, offering filmmakers a strong platform to showcase their works.
"The festival, over the years, has established a distinct identity as the definitive voice of the Gulf film industry, serving often as the first point to watch films by Gulf-based student and professional filmmakers.
"Its diverse initiatives have strengthened the interaction between audience members, media, industry guests and international and regional filmmakers.”
All films submitted for this year's festival must be produced after January 1, 2011.
Feature films must be a work of fiction and non-fiction that equals or exceeds 60 minutes in length. Short films must be a work of fiction and non-fiction that does not exceed 59 minutes in length.
Entries into all the GFF competitions this year must be done by completing the application online at www.gulffilmfest.com, by February 29.
The fourth edition of GFF screened 153 films from 31 countries, including 59 world premieres, 13 international premieres, 15 Middle East premieres and 15 GCC premieres.
There were over 114 films from the Arabian peninsula, including 45 from the UAE and a strong representation from the GCC region and Iraq.
This year's festival will continue its key competitions - the Gulf Competition for professional and student filmmakers and the International Competition for Short Films.