Starring filmmaker Mustafa Abbas and rising star Dubai Abulhoul, directed by Masoud Amralla Al Ali...

tabloid! presents...

At cinemas at Dubai Festival City from April 9-15

Directed by: artistic director for the Dubai International Film Festival Masoud Amralla Al Ali

An Emirati filmmaker with a few years in the industry under his belt, Mustafa Abbas has already made quite a name for himself on the regional film circuit.

Sucked in by the power of film from an early age, Abbas says his passion really kicked in aged 12.

"I guess it had more to do with telling a story and getting people to listen. Being a visual person, I saw I really understood film in a very different way to my friends," said Abbas.

"I wanted to know everything there was to know, the names of actors, directors, the different styles, and most importantly, the processes. Naturally, I see films differently than my friends see them."

With his latest short, Rain, due to screen at 6.45pm on Friday and 4.30pm on Saturday, Abbas says he checked out every angle for his third film.

"I study everything from the dialogue to the casting to the angles. A lot of it is on a subconscious level, of course. I don't feel it's really a choice - film has picked me."

Dubai Abulhoul is back by popular demand.

Making hand-drawn pictures come to life on her laptop, 12-year-old Dubai was the toast of the inaugural festival last year as she picked up a special award for her animated short, Galagolia.

A year later, she agreed there cannot be too many others in the running for the prize of "youngest filmmaker in the festival".

Oscar speech written, rehearsed and perfected, the youngster is aiming for nothing less than the very top.

"I cannot even explain how amazing I feel when I am making films," she says without blinking. "It's intense and I couldn't live without it."

Her second animated short, Dubaian, is the story of two explorers searching for a mysterious treasure known as The Golden Heart which is hidden deep under Dubai's desert sands.

"It was my summer project and the best part was trying to do all four male voices and remember who was who," she laughs.

"I am excited to show the world my latest film because it [has] been a big secret so far."

"I am basically the go-to man," Masoud Amralla Al Ali says with a smile.

"Everything goes through me and I'm always pretty busy. I don't have a minute to spare in the run up to the festival but the energy and excitement make it all very worthwhile."

Al Ali oversees the entire programming for the Gulf Film Festival which comprises films from Arab and international filmmakers.

"I have a passion for cinema and film which makes me good at what I do. You have to completely immerse yourself in this business to be successful. "

The 2006 edition of the Dubai International Film Festival saw his appointment as Artistic Director of Arabic Programming and General Coordinator of the Muhr Awards - a platform which recognises talent from the world of Arab cinema.

"I also founded the Emirates Film Competition, an annual cinema event held in Abu Dhabi to promote Arab films and encourage Arab filmmakers from the UAE and the region. I will never give up on what is local and believe we have the talent in the region to make an impact on the world's film industry. Some of the guys featured in this year's edition will make the big time."

Al Ali is regarded as one of the region's best-informed experts on Arab cinema. He has directed several documentary films and writes extensively as a critic on Arab cinema in the media.


All GFF screenings are free of charge and open to people of all ages. The opening night red carpet will take place from 7-8pm followed by the six short films.

For more information visit

The success of the inaugural festival in 2008 placed the UAE film industry firmly in the limelight with a selection of GFF films subsequently screened at several international festivals including the Horcynus Festival in Italy and the Nabeul Cinema Nights in Tunisia.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, who oversees programming for GFF, was later hand-picked as a jury member at both the 2008 Durban International Film Festival in South Africa as well as the Oran International Film Festival in Algeria.

At the eighth edition of the Arab Film Festival, Rotterdam, a number of films, which enjoyed their debut at GFF 2008 were given top honours.

A true manifestation of the unique talents in the GCC film industry, GFF 2009 will screen a total of 146 films from 25 countries.

GFF seeks to provide a boost to Arab cinema and encourage regional cinematic talent, while acting as a vital platform for showcasing the work of filmmakers and scriptwriters from around the region.

GFF features two main competitions: The Film Competition, which is broken down into Official and Students, as well as the Script Competition.

Prizes: Official competition

Feature: First prize Dh50,000, second prize Dh35,000

Documentary: First prize Dh25,000, second prize Dh20,000 and third prize Dh15,000

Special Jury Prize for feature or documentary: Dh20,000

Short: First prize Dh25,000, second prize Dh20,000 and third prize Dh15,000

Best Script: Dh15,000

Special Jury Prize: Dh20,000

Prizes: Student competition

Documentary: First prize Dh20,000, second prize Dh15,000 and third prize Dh10,000

Short: First prize Dh20,000, second prize Dh15,000 and third prize Dh10,000

Special Jury Prize for Documentary or Short: Dh15,000

Script Competition for Emirati Short Films: First prize Dh50,000 second prize Dh40,000 and third prize Dh30,000

Guests will be treated to a representative selection of six short films from across the GCC including Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

From Bahrain, Aisha Al Muqla's The Cork investigates freedom of speech in democratic and non-democratic societies, symbolising the significance of freedom.

Iraqi-born, Denmark-based filmmaker Fenar Ahmad presents Mesopotamia set in the Iraq of the future. Viewers follow the aftermath of a coalition withdrawal in 2020 through the eyes of a young boy.

From Kuwait, Omar Al Masab brings Naked Human, an experimental film that is part of a trilogy asking philosophical questions on human knowledge acquisition, processing and transfer.

Oman's Dawood and Yasir Al Kiyumi have contributed their inspiring short, Discover Your Power with an essential message - everyone has a unique skill only uncovered by tapping into an individual's source of power.

Saudi Arabian Sameer Arif brings Eyes Without Soul, posing the question of how to see the world through another's eyes.

From the UAE, Bilal Abdullah will screen The Half Heart, about a lady who commits a sin that society finds hard to forgive.