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Under the theme ‘Stories at One with Nature’, Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert festival, which is organised by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), has selected its jury members. December sees this celebration of local and regional filmmakers, opening them up horizons to present their stories. This initiative demonstrates the Authority’s commitment to support talent in the cinema sector, in order to achieve its vision of establishing Dubai as a global destination for film production and the cinema industry.

The event will be held from 9 to 11 December, in Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve. Director and poet Nujoom Al Ghanem, Toni El Massih, Managing Director of VOX Cinemas, director and producer Omar Butti, director and producer Nahla Al-Fahad, and Creative Director of Expo 2020 Dubai Amna Belhoul, will all be tasked with evaluating the short films participating in Al Marmoom Short Film Competition, which includes the categories of documentary, animation and live action films.

Incubator environment

Shaikh Maktoum Marwan Al Maktoum, project manager of Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert Festival and Senior Officer in the Projects & Events Department at Dubai Culture, said: “The festival represents a unique platform that focuses on supporting emerging cinema talent in the region, and gives them the opportunity to broaden their horizons. The festival features a rich programme, through which Dubai Culture seeks to support, motivate and empower local and regional filmmakers, in order to achieve its vision aimed at cementing Dubai's position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent. The festival contributes through its competition and series of activities to advancing the Dubai film industry in all its fields and providing an incubating environment for creatives.”

Shamma Yahya Almheiri, project manager of Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert Festival and Senior Officer in the CEO of Arts & Literature Sector office at Dubai Culture affirmed that the jury members who were selected are the best fit to judge the films competing for the festival's awards, saying: “The jury members possess real experience and have their fingerprints all over our film industry, and will work through their observations to help filmmakers refine and develop their creativity. The festival, through its competition, aims to attract talents in the short film industry, and to provide them with an innovative platform that enables them to access their skills and attain professionalism.”

Variety assortment

Nujoom Al-Ghanem, director, poet and co-founder of Nahar Productions, has won many local, regional and international awards, including the pride of the UAE Medal at the Mohammed bin Rashid Government Excellence Awards in 2019. She has also directed and produced more than 8 feature films, including the documentary ‘Hamama’, “Red, Blue, Yellow”, “Al Mureed”, “Between Two Banks”, “Honey, Rain & Dust” and others.

Producer and director Omar Butti, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives and Media Studies, at the Dubai Film and TV Commission, also has extensive experience in film directing and production, He was an assistant director for ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’, that included scenes in Dubai. In addition, there is Toni El Massih, Managing Director at VOX Cinemas, whose duties are based on achieving Majid Al Futtaim's priorities in content production, film purchase and distribution, in addition to the task of programming films and content at Vox.

Multi-award-winning Nahla Al-Fahd the director and producer, who is distinguished in the film and television industry, has under his belt the films ‘The Tainted Veil’ and ‘218: Behind the Wall of Silence” and the series ‘War of Hearts, ‘Zero Hour’ and ‘Tears of Snakes’. She also held the position of Director of Creative Management and UAE Content at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Another jury member is Amna Abulhoul, Executive Creative Director, Events & Entertainment, Dubai Expo City. She developed the creative programming of the Al Wasl Plaza in the international exhibition, with characters she designed.

The festival will witness a variety of film screenings that reflect the visions of their makers, in addition to a series of talks and workshops presented by a group of experts in the film industry as well as art installations and live performances, through which Dubai Culture aims to support and empower talent and creativity to enhance the strength of Dubai's creative economy.

Source: Cicero and Bernay