Abu Dhabi: Over 100 films from several countries across the Middle East were submitted to compete in the third consecutive annual festival hosted by Zayed University (ZU) on its new campus in Abu Dhabi on April 23-25.
The ceremonies also included the opening of the UAE's National Library and Archive projects at Zayed University's Abu Dhabi campus.
Talent scouts and masters of the art of filmmaking were also present to scope the skills of and encourage a new generation of filmmakers.
The festival will screen 50 films from 12 countries across the region. Screenings are open for public with tickets available at the door.
Films vie for Dh25,000 in prizes and top spots in the following categories: Best of the Best, Best Narrative, Best Documentary, and Best Animation.
The consolation prizes are also of great honor, as the work/productions will be on permanent availability at the newly founded National Library.
The library will include all narrative, feature and documentary films produced in the UAE by Emiratis as well as expatriate films that deal with the UAE.
It will also include all books written by UAE film entities and business, films co-produced by UAE companies and festivals, winners in Emirates Film Competition, Gulf Film Festival, and Zayed University Middle East Film Festivals.
Additionally, the archives will include materials related to the films such as scripts, trailers, subtitles and more.
"This project is going to have a lasting impact on the nation. We need to document our films. And this project will preserve our film history from being lost," said Nawaf Al Janahi, director of Sea Shadow.
Hoda Kanoo, Director at Abu Dhabi Music and Art Foundation (ADMAF), encouraged students to embrace what they learn but to never let creativity take backseat to duplication.
"Embrace the change but remain yourself. At the end of the day it is all about you, your artistic talent, creativity and the messages you want to convey. You have extraordinary resources at hand, a culture and society that believe in you," she advised.
"We have lots of events and activities today. When we started back in 2001 there were no festivals, so the new generation is lucky. Archiving our history is extremely important especially that through years we say so many mistakes about facts for multiple reasons. I think all this will vanish with this step as we will have a source to refer to," Al Janahi added.
Notable honors also go to the two students who conceived the idea of the film festival as a graduation project in 2010 Rima Majid and Alyazi Al Farasi.
"It makes me extremely proud to think that the small idea we had has become a great event. I learned that there is nothing impossible. Take your ambitions to the next level and never settle with good-enough. We simply wanted to give back to this great institution a legacy, and to the new talents a platform to start from," said Al Farasi.
To those two founders and the many that will follow…Dream on - Dreams do come true.