Gulf Film Fest jury announced
Dubai, March 22, 2009
The Gulf Film Festival (GFF) has announced the names of the jury members who will adjudicate the Official and Student Competitions.
The festival was launched last year as a platform for regional film professionals to showcase their work to an international and GCC-wide audience.
The GFF Competition segments will see films from the Gulf region vie for generous cash prizes in the feature, documentary and short films categories and for documentaries and shorts in the student competition.
GFF festival director Masoud Amralla al Ali pointed out the importance of the jury for the festival’s success.
'Our mandate is very clearly to provide a space where Gulf filmmakers can show their work with an eye to building sustainable careers, and the jury is the body that sets the standards whereby emerging and established artists can benchmark themselves and their peers.'
'They are essential to ‘raising the bar’ as well as to encouraging many filmmakers whose work has not been widely seen to this point. We are honoured to host these film professionals, whose importance and influence cannot be overstated,' he added.
Abdellatif Abdelhamid, one of Syria's most prominent film directors, is the jury president. He is a well-known name in the Arab world, having earned numerous accolades at the Damascus Film Festival, Carthage Film Festival, and Rabat International Film Festival.
His ‘Oral Messages’ received the Golden Olive at the Valencia Mediterranean Film Festival in 1992, and ‘Listeners' Choice’ received Special Acknowledgment at the Asiatica Film Mediale in Italy in 2003.
His latest venture ‘Days of Boredom’ was screened as part of the Muhr Arabic Features at the Dubai International Film Festival 2008.
The jury also comprises award-winning Emirati journalist, theatre director and actor Marei AlHalyan. He is also the director of the Sharjah Modern Theatre and cultural affairs writer for Al Bayan newspaper.
He has participated in numerous television dramas, including Kharaz, Menkoum wa Lakoum, Al Kaffan, and Haaz ya Naseeb, as well as the film Jumaa wal Bahhar (Juamaa and the Sea) screened at GFF last year and Ma’ta (When) which won best film at the first edition of the Emirates Film Competition.
He has written and directed many theatrical plays that have been staged around the Gulf, many of which won awards.
Most recently, his children’s play ‘Game is Over’ was recognized with the Directing Award by the Emirates Festival for Children’s Theatre in 2007.
Another key jury member is Kuwaiti journalist, film critic and film jurist Abdul Sattar Naji. He is also the managing editor of Lana magazine and a member of the prestigious International Federation of Film Critics.
He has been a juror at the Carthage Theatre Festival, the Damascus and Hong Kong Film Festivals, and the Cannes Festival of TV and Documentaries. He has also adjudicated the Emirates Film Competition.
Bashar Ibrahem is a film critic and producer based in the UAE. His books on Arab film criticism, including ‘Views in Syrian Cinema,’ ‘A Look at Palestinian Cinema in the Twentieth Century,’ ‘Abdel-Nasser and Cinema’ and ‘Palestine in Arab Cinema’ have contributed to the understanding and study of Arab cinema as a serious art form.
He has produced a number of documentaries for Al Jazeera, including Damascus Hajj, Ramadan and the City, and Arab Christians.
Ziad Khuzai is an Iraqi film critic based in the UK. He has been prominent in the founding of the first festival of Arab cinema in the United Kingdom, organized in collaboration with the National Film Theater, the leading repertory cinema in the UK specializing in seasons of classic, independent and non-English language films and is operated by the British Film Institute.
He has also worked as chief programmer of the Dubai Discoveries programme in the early ye