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DIFF 2017 will showcase more than 120 films from the Arab world and beyond.
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1. UAE’s first full-length movie: Abr Sabeel by Ali Al Abdul is believed to be the first full-length movie filmed in the UAE, according to research by Professor Alejandra Cubero at Zayed University. While it was completed in 1989, it was never released in a commercial theatre.
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2. Attracting foreign outfits: The UAE has created a number of commissions, such as the Abu Dhabi Film Commissions and Dubai Film & TV Commissions, to encourage the production of foreign films in the country, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Fast & Furious 7.
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3. Market potential: The MENA region has a media market worth $26.4bn, according to global consultancy PWC, which is expected to grow 7.4 percent to $35bn by 2020, making it the second-fastest growing media market in the world.
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4. Industry support: Funding for UAE films remains a challenge, though many projects are backed by DIFF’s Enjaaz Fund, which supports first and second-time filmmakers in the region. Arab filmmakers have argued that Western funds are crucial to developing the region’s industry.
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5. Encouraging local talent: Abu Dhabi government-owned company Image Nation has invested in larger-scale Emirati productions to encourage bigger, more commercial Arabic-language films. These include The Worthy, directed by Ali Mostafa, who made Dubai-inspired movie City of Life.