Filmmakers in Dubai call for a platform to showcase their work

Fimmakers in the country, whether they are nationals or expatriates, need a platform, the event’s curator believes. (Shutterstock)
Updated 31 October 2018
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Filmmakers in Dubai call for a platform to showcase their work

DUBAI: Filmmakers in the UAE need a platform to showcase their work, Sucheta Phule, the curator of Friday’s Desert Flower International Film Festival, told Arab News.

Phule said that filmmakers in the country, whether they are nationals or expatriates, need a platform, as well as support from authorities and the private sector.

“It is sad that the city with such beautiful diversity has no institution or platform that can take their work forward and mentor them,” Phule said.

The festival is an initiative by Phule, supported by Dubai-based performing arts space The Junction which provides the facilities for film screenings. A total of five short films, made by both local and expatriate filmmakers, were showcased at the festival.

“We are producing brilliant talent and creative work by both local and (expatriate) filmmakers. But there is no support at all. The filmmaker has to invest in the film by him/herself and the struggle goes on,” said Indian-origin Phule, who is also a filmmaker. One of her films, “Nirrutar,” was also screened at the festival.

The curator believes there is a vacuum after the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) was made into a biennial event. But, according to her, DIFF was not supporting local talent in the way she believes it should have.

“DIFF preferred films with only one kind of filmmaker. It was not open for all kinds of local filmmakers. But, all said and done, even DIFF is out. We are without any festival these days,” she said.

Manahel Mahmood, an Emirati filmmaker whose film “Love Him as I Do” was one of the popular films at the festival, also lamented the apparent lack of a platform for UAE-based filmmakers.

“Whatever we do, we do it by ourselves. Even for funding, it is very difficult to find full support for short films,” said Mahmood, whose film about the struggle of a mother with an autistic child cost her about $5,445 to complete.

“The UAE has a great treasure of diverse filmmaking talent. We can easily build a very successful local film industry, provided we get full support from the authorities as well as from the private sector.”

Rashmi Kotriwala, the co-founder of The Junction, agreed.

“There are very few platforms or events that focus on local films. If at all, they are sporadic. We are, therefore, trying to give a consistent push.”


Chinese pianist Lang Lang set to regale music lovers at Tantora

Updated 18 January 2019
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Chinese pianist Lang Lang set to regale music lovers at Tantora

  • Lang will perform alongside the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra at the Al-Ula-based festival
  • The Winter at Tantora festival has proven wildly successful with audiences so far

RIYADH: Award-winning Chinese pianist Lang Lang delighted fans on Wednesday with a short video teaser to promote his upcoming performance at the Winter at Tantora festival. 

The musician posted the video online, in which he was seen opening a book to reveal the words “stay tuned.” 

Winter at Tantora’s Twitter account added to the hype, tweeting to their followers that the concert would “refresh their senses.”

Lang will perform alongside the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra at the Al-Ula-based festival.

He is famous for his compelling style and talent, as well as his range as a pianist. Claimed that music is his “first language,” he believes that through it he is able to communicate with audiences all over the globe, despite language barriers. 

Throughout his career, he has performed classical pieces, including Chopin and Liszt, but also more contemporary work, including songs from The Little Mermaid.

The sold-out concert, called Monumental, is scheduled for Friday Jan. 18, and will be Lang’s and the Guangzhou Orchestra’s first performances in Saudi Arabia.

Fans took to Twitter to express their excitement. “I can’t wait to see you!” Tweeted one. “It’s a pleasure and an honor to have you in Saudi Arabia!”

The Winter at Tantora festival has proven wildly successful with audiences so far, with names such as Mohammed Abdo, Majida Al-Roumi, and a holographic depiction of legendary songstress Umm Kulthoum all appearing to positive acclaim.

The limited seating per concert, capped at 500 apiece, has been popular, with most concerts selling out in record-breaking time. With different packages available to purchase for the festival, ranging from affordable seats to high-end luxury experiences, the chance to spend a weekend in Al-Ula has also been made available to a wide pool of people, despite the small numbers on offer.