Arab filmmakers will attempt the challenging task of telling a story in the most succinct manner in the Muhr Gulf Short Category during the 12th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff), which runs from December 9 to 16.

Saudi Arabian director Nada Al Mojadedi will bring her short film Zaina’s Cake, a tale of a young college graduate with aspirations of starting her own cake business. However, when Zaina’s father objects to his daughter’s ambitions, she must go behind his back and secretly employ the help of a new friend to get her venture up and running.

Joining Nada, is fellow Saudi Arabian director Hind Al Fahhad, whose latest short film, Peddiers, depicts the daily challenges faced by a group of women. Set in a traditional souq, the short film relays how the women strive to earn a living but are shunned and unable to find a place to set up shop.

Iraqi actor and director Shawn Attoof joins the line-up with his film My Father’s Garden. This short film is a religious allegory that questions the morality of the world.

Street art and graffiti documenter Rana Jarbou uses her background of highlighting underlying societal issues to create her latest work, Hajwalah, a short documentary concerning the illegal street racing phenomenon known as ‘Arab Drifting’ (Hajwalah).

The final film of actor Omar Sharif’s career before his death in July, 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al Haytham, will also be showcased. The film by director and producer Ahmad Salim focuses on the scientific journey of 11th century Arab polymath and philosopher Ibn Al Haytham. It follows his journey to discover the nature of light and vision, guided by Sharif in a partly animated storyline.

Director Bahaa Al Kadimy will bring his short Dialing …, which follows an Iraqi woman who refuses to accept her son’s death. Unable to accept the evidence before her, she journeys through the neighbourhood in search of a phone she can use to contact him, despite not knowing how to use one.

“With the introduction of the Muhr Gulf Short Category at Diff this year and the growing strength in submissions we’ve witnessed, we are providing Arab filmmakers with an exclusive opportunity to be recognised on a global platform. In the hope of transforming the film industry in the region, we will continue to strive and further our efforts in fostering the progression of exciting new talent,” said Diff’s Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali in a statement.

Ticket packages start from Dh275. Log on to dubaifilmfest.com for details.