By Sam Bridge
New regional festival designed to support the development of the media, entertainment and content industries to start on Thursday
ON.DXB, a new regional festival designed to support the development of the media, entertainment and content industries, gets underway in Dubai on Thursday.
The event aims to further stimulate Dubai’s growth as a global platform for companies and talent in film, gaming, video and music – sectors that are being driven by digital technology.
Celebrated filmmaker Spike Lee, English actor and Grime artist Kano, actor and producer Liza Koshy and gaming icon MjrmGames are among the international celebrities that will headline ON.DXB.
Majed Al Suwaidi, managing director of Dubai Media City, said the festival seeks to help the region make a quantum leap in the development of its media, entertainment and content sectors.
Content is currently dominated by western media, but regionally there is a growth in demand for more original content from gaming to music to TV, he said.
"The Arab region requires more platforms that support innovation in these industries. ON.DXB is part of our comprehensive efforts to fill this gap," he added.
Jamal Al Sharif, chairman of the Dubai TV and Film Commission, said the festival will substantially raise the region’s profile on the global creative map.
“With the fields of media and content undergoing a major transformation, a lot of the ground rules in these sectors have changed. There is an urgent need to create a space that empowers local and Arab talent and encourages their continued contribution to these sectors. Such initiatives are critical to help the region keep pace with new developments,” he said.
Dubai’s growth as a media hub received a resounding endorsement in July when the Arab Information Ministers Council named it as the Capital of Arab Media for 2020.
Last month, Dubai hosted Insomnia Dubai, the region's largest gaming festival and in December, it will play host to Girlgamer Esports Festival, the world’s leading esports event for women.
ON.DXB will welcome major gaming industry talent from across the region and beyond, including Hiba Muhareb, co-founder of Shanab Games; John Lacey, MD and founder of Power League Gaming; influencer Ahmed Al Nasheet; MC Baraa Andullah; Mohammed Alturkistani, the MENA Director at Tentacle Gaming; and RobocomVR founder Karim Ibrahim.
Regional film champions will also take centre-stage at the festival including Asri Bendacha, the Dubai-based independent filmmaker behind influencer documentary Follow Me; Emirati filmmaker Mustafa Abbas, who directed the critically acclaimed Sunset State - screened at Cannes Film Festival - and Afnan Al Qassimi, the screenwriter of Boxing Girls,.
Regional video talent will be championed by Mohammad Fattal, founder and CEO of Alfan Group; Noor Stars, the top subscribed YouTube creator in the Arab world; beauty guru Manal Muffin; and Saudi-based influencer Dyler TV, among others.
The regional music industry will be represented by Elie Abou Saleh, GCC VP of Anghami; Sony Music general manager Mike Fairburn; and Amr Ramadan, founder of Wasla, the alternative Arabic music festival, as well as speakers from ARN.