The Arab Cinema Center (ACC) announced that Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), and Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of the DIFF, are the winners of the Arab Cinema Personality of the Year award, presented by the Arab Cinema Center in cooperation with The Hollywood Reporter. This marks the first time that an award of this nature is given to the directors of a film festival. The Arab Cinema Personality of the Year award was presented out at this year's Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale).
Kevin Cassidy, International News Editor at The Hollywood Reporter, comments,"Creating and managing a festival and creative environment over 15 years which continues to inspire, drive and showcase the Arab film world internationally truly deserves recognition. We are delighted to present THR's 1st Arab Cinema Personality of the Year Award jointly to the two leaders of the Dubai International Film Festival, Abdulhamid Juma and Masoud Amralla Al Ali."
Film Analyst Alaa Karkouti, Managing Partner and Co-founder of the ACC and CEO of MAD Solutions, says, "The award was given to Juma and Amralla for contributing to the success of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) since its very beginning. The festival became a central event in the Arab filmmaking calendar and it has maintained a steady commitment these past fifteen years to nurturing and championing filmmakers across the Arab-speaking region."
Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of the Dubai International Film Festival, comments, "As we approach the 15th edition I am incredibly proud of what the Festival has achieved. On behalf of the team, I thank The Hollywood Reporter and the Arab Cinema Center for this recognition of DIFF's commitment to promoting incredible Arab talent and their work to global audiences and thus strengthening intercultural dialogue. We are looking forward to an exciting future as we continue to see the interest in Arab cinema grow, connect creatives from around the world, discover new talent, embark on new collaborations and take our audiences on a journey of extraordinary storytelling that will inspire, inform and encourage debate."
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of DIFF, said "Over the last 15 years we have been privileged at DIFF to host remarkable new talents from the region to world renowned visionaries, embrace the latest advances in immersive storytelling, discover local and global narratives that enlighten us, take inspiration from maverick short filmmakers and share this and more with our audiences in the UAE. So many incredible stories have graced the screens of our festival and we look forward to welcoming more creatives from both home and abroad. Thank you for this award, it's a fantastic acknowledgement that the dedicated team at DIFF are accomplishing our mission of building a platform for Arab filmmakers at an international level by spearheading the cinema movement in the region."
Since they started managing DIFF, Juma and Amralla have been constantly adapting along the way to create an indispensable Arab marketplace, project forum and glittering showcase willing to shine a spotlight on films that ask controversial questions, while also showcasing Arab entertainment at its finest. DIFF holds the largest film market in the Arab world, attracting regional and international distributors and sales agents from across the globe. To date, the festival has screened over 2,000 films and keeps attracting thousands of filmmakers, producers, celebrities, industry professionals and cinephiles from all over the world. The festival's various initiatives including Enjaaz for post-production grants and Dubai Film Connection for film projects in their various stages of production have helped shape the careers of several filmmakers from the Arab world. The 7th issue of the Arab Cinema Magazine, released by the ACC at the Berlinale, has singled out a feature about the Arab Cinema Personality of the Year award and its winners.
The ACC's participation in presenting the award comes as part of its strategy of promoting the Arab film industry internationally and supporting Arab filmmakers. In January 2018, the ACC selected Arab producers to attend the Rotterdam Lab, held on the sidelines of the International Film Festival Rotterdam - IFFR. Moreover, the ACC opened call for applications to Arab film projects for the MAFF - Málaga Film Festival Fund & Co-production Event and Málaga Work In Progress that are held within the Málaga Film Festival in Spain (April 13-22, 2018).
Organized by MAD Solutions in 2015, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is an international promotional platform for Arab cinema as it provides the filmmaking industry with a professional window to connect with their counterparts from all over the world through a number of events that it organizes. The ACC also provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution, among others. The Center's activities vary between film market main wings, introduction and networking sessions for Arab and foreign filmmakers, welcome parties, as well as meetings with international organizations and festivals, and the issuance of the Arab Cinema Magazine to be distributed at the leading international film festivals and markets.
Furthermore, newsletter subscription is now available on the ACC's website, allowing users to obtain digital copies of the Arab Cinema Magazine, as well as news on the ACC's activities, notifications of application dates for grants, festivals and offers from educational and training institutions, updates on Arab films participating at festivals, exclusive news on the Arab Cinema LAB, and highlights from the ACC partners and their future projects.