Emirati films screened at the past four editions of the Gulf Film Festival (GFF) will be screened for free to the public as part of a unique collaboration between the festival and Sikka 2012, a contemporary art fair by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) at Al Bastakiya from March 16 to 25.
The first of its kind initiative aims at highlighting the significant strides that Emiratis have made in films and is in line with Sikka’s objective of showcasing the UAE’s diverse and emerging art perspectives. Some 42 films including features, documentaries and shorts by professional Emirati filmmakers and students will be screened from March 16 to 24 at the Dar Al Nadwa in the heritage district.
Sikka, now in its second year, is a carefully selected presentation of works by forward-thinking artists, and runs concurrently with Art Week, the umbrella initiative that includes a range of contemporary art and design events, museum shows, gallery exhibitions and artists’ projects, coinciding with Art Dubai.
The selection, from award-winning features to documentaries and shorts by students, presents the eclectic styles of filmmaking by Emirati filmmakers, and the rich and growing film talent pool in the country. The GFF’s Sikka showcase will feature spotlight sessions on three directors — Khalid Mahmood, Nujoom Alghanem and Waleed Al Shihhi. The programme will also present women filmmaker talent in the country, and two thematic perspectives — identity and the other side — as explored by UAE national film directors.
On Friday, March 16, a selection of films by award-winning Emirati director Khalid Al Mahmood including Sabeel” (2010), Bint Al Nokhitha (2008), Celebration of Life (2006) and Dreams in a Box (2003) will be screened. The lineup for Saturday, March 17, includes five GFF prize-winning films by Emirati filmmakers including: Mountain Sheik (directed by Nasser Al Yaqoobi); End of December (Hamad Al Hammadi); Ghaimat Shrooq(Ahmed Zain); “The Sea Hides” (Hamad Saghran); Tenbak (Abdullah Hassan Ahmed); and Bint Mariam(Saeed Salmeen Al-Murry). The screenings will take place from 8pm to 10pm.
Emirati student talent will be in the spotlight on Sunday, March 18, from 5pm to 7pm, with the screening of Second Wife (Moza Al Sharif); Finding Mr & Mrs Right: Dubai Style (Elham Sharaf and Hind Al Hammadi); Am Arab(Ahlam Albannai and Jumana Al Ghanem); Mad Camel (Mohammad Fikree); Constructing Dreams (Moath bin Hafez); Access Denied” (Nawar Al Shamsi) and Shhh (Hafsa Al Mutawa and Shamma Bunawas).
On Monday, March 19, the programme is dedicated to Emirati women filmmakers. The films to be screened from 6pm to 7pm include: Rewind (Muna Al Ali); Amal’s Cloud(Rawia Abdullah); Nations and Tribes (Maysoon Al Ali); Once (Nayla Al Khaja) and I’m A Man (Shamma Bunawas and Sahar Al Khatib). Continuing the tribute to women filmmakers on Tuesday, March 20, Hamama, directed by Nujoom Alghanem will be screened from 6pm to 8pm.
A unique compilation of films exploring the theme of identity will be screened on Thursday, March 22, from 6pm to 7pm. The selection includes: The Half Heart (Bilal Abdullah); Supplication(Omar Ibrahim); Miriam’s Paradise (Mohamad Al Hammadi); Abeer (Talal Mahmood) and Slow Death (Jamal Salim).
On Friday, March 23, from 8 to 10pm, the showcase of Emirati films will explore ‘the other side’ and includes: Gloves (Saleh Karama); Calendar and Consultant (Ali Al Jabri); The Last Hope (Ibrahim Almarzouqi); Hammer & Nails(Hamad Al-Awar); Soweer (Saud Merwesh); Life of Stone (Moath bin Hafez); Noura’s Apple (Manal Ali bin Amro) and Al Kandorah (Maitha Al Haddad and Shaikha Lamya Al Mulla).
On Saturday, March 24, the final day of the GFF showcase at Sikka, the spotlight will be on Waleed Al Shihhi, with the screening of five of his films – The Water Guard, Aushba’s Well, Ahmad Sulaiman, Door and Wind. Screenings will run from 8.30pm to 10pm.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “The Emirati showcase at Sikka is a clear demonstration of the rich filmmaking talent we have in our country. The interest in cinema that we see in our youth is also stimulated by the UAE’s rich artistic and cultural heritage, which is reflected in the story-telling style and the themes our filmmakers explore. The best of GFF at Sikka is a not to be missed opportunity to witness the evolution of a home-grown Emirati cinema industry.”
Salem Belyouha, Projects and Events Director, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: “We are delighted to host the best of Emirati films from Gulf Film Festival at Sikka 2012. While the predominant focus of Sikka is on fine arts, the introduction of the film programming highlights our commitment to promote all cultural art forms in the city.”