Research: Film Festivals in the Emerging Emirates
Abstract: The emerging Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have established two international film festivals in the last seven years, attracting global attention to the development of “high profile events with budgets in the $10 million range”. The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) have contributed to not only the proliferation of the film festival circuit, but to their own region by showcasing Middle Eastern Cinema on a large scale.
A key discussion point in my argument of the “high profile” status that the festivals attract, relates to the wider film festival scholarship that has begun to track the burgeoning circuit. Film festival scholars have begun to categorise festivals into networks, and the establishment of DIFF in 2004, and ADFF 2007 has seen these particular festivals strive to become key network points on the international film festival circuit.
By incubating a film culture through the establishment of DIFF and ADFF, the UAE hopes that its residents can develop an appreciative culture from film festival cinema. The UAE’s nascent national cinema, produced its first feature film after the establishment of DIFF, highlighting the need for a funding body in Dubai in the absence of a national film commission. With Abu Dhabi establishing the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, the ADFF, and the UAE will also look to further develop film as a “significant cultural product”.
Author: Fergus Grady
Supervisor: Dr. Adrian Danks