In his capacity as Deputy General of the Film & Entertainment Division, Abdulhamid Juma was part of the initial team that founded the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in 2004, and was appointed Chairman of DIFF in 2006. He was also the driving force behind the Gulf Film Festival, an annual event that showcases the best in regional cinema to a local and international audience. Abdulhamid sits on the board of Dubai Media Incorporated and the board of The Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication. In addition, he serves on the advisory board of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, National Media Council (NMC) and The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) Advisory Council. His previous assignments include CEO of Dubai Media City, senior management positions at Dubai Internet City, Citibank Group and Jebel Ali Free Zone. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics from the University of Colorado, and a certificate in General Management from Harvard Business School.
LET FILM FIND YOU
Dubai International Film Festival – the Leading Festival in the region
The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, unveiled its rich and diverse of films and events.
DIFF opens dialogue between cultures and nations, introducing audiences to fresh new talent and original filmmaking from around the world.
More than 4,000 media and industry delegates from 62 countries were attending to the industry events program this year to do business, attend work-in-progress screenings, masterclasses, and seminars, meet new projects, network and acquire content.
As a professional event Manager, I was really amazed the quality of the Organization of the Festival. World Stars and creative filmmakers on the Red Carpet, International guests and friends of the Festival, media and Cinema Art admirers everything was calculated till the small details to make their presence comfortable and memorable.
Let me introduce you to The Festival Chairman Mr.Abdulhamid Juma, who is the part of the initial team since the creation of DIFF in 2004.
Thank you very much for this incredible experience we are enjoyed during the Festival. Can you say a bit about your team?
You will be surprised, but we are 16 fulltime team only and we come in up to 1000 during the festival as the festival requires, 700 of whom are volunteers. They are from 55 nationalities. Males and females aged 17-75 who have experience in festivals.
That is why it is organized so well! A huge effort made by your team. More 140 films been selected during the festival from over 50 countries. Do you have some personal preferences for films? Do you have children?
When you have children, you will have an answer to this question better than me. As the organizers, we don’t bring films for ourselves; we bring films for the audience and you have to understand your audience. In Dubai live more than one hundred nationalities. Forget about the people coming from the outside. You need also to satisfy this number of nationalities, so we try to bring the best films from everywhere in the world to make sure, because this is what represents the UAE and Dubai. I do have some preferable films, because it is like a father who likes all 140 films and I want people to come and see them. We do have some recommendations in our catalogue, whatever something is really important not to be missed. Overall, I like all of 140 films.
Do you already know the dates of the next festival?
We usually announce the dates on the final day of our festival, but we have not announced yet as a lot of things are happening in Dubai. Normally it is on over the thirst two weeks of December. The actual dates will be announced very soon.
It is going to be the 15th edition. Are you preparing something special?
Every edition is special for us. Maybe people like numbers. 15 is a good milestone, because it is a time to set seriously deeper. Every year we have an official survey going around and we question around 1600 people. We want to show things not bigger, but better. At the same time, 15 is not very short, but not long as well in terms of lifespan of festivals. With the survey we look inside and understand what goes right/wrong, what has to be cancelled or extended. Now we have a dream of having a TV award. We will also ask the stakeholders if we have done something to change the thing and the situation of Arab cinema. We need to listen from our audience what we have to do.
Your festival is the leading one in the region. The film market is getting bigger and bigger. Can you elaborate on that?
The market is the kitchen of the festival. There are two components in every festival, one is films, glamour, red carpet – all those beautiful things the audience clearly see and the other which is sort of business type of dinner, where people try to find appropriate films, producers, funding, cast, which always happens in the kitchen. Some festivals have a tendency to focus on one and show glamour, beautiful red carpet, but they lack best films. Other festivals are very trade focused; don’t believe in the red carpet or stars. They have their pros and cons. We are here in Dubai and we always want to come in the middle and to have the better of both.
A great diversity of filmmakers who are participating in your Festival: from very talented Arab directors to legends of Hollywood. Are you expecting more people from abroad to participate?’
We are always open to newness. Every year the leader of this are films, so we go after best films and whatever comes with those films is secondary. You don’t go for stars where you can get a bigger name, but they have nothing to do with the festival. I see sometimes it is just a show off. We go for the film and if the films happen to have a big star then we would like to have that big star. If the films have younger first-timers, we will go for them. So the films lead us and pave a road for us. I would always like to have people here who have something to do with the festival and love to be here, because we don’t pay for stars to come. So they come here because they want to help their films, their filmmakers, discover a new place, promote and sell their films. Since last year I personally have seen a balance between glamour and film market. The dream
Thank you very much for supporting young filmmakers and I hope you will achieve your goals at the festival. Good luck for your future festivals.
After being on that Marvelous Festival I am sure that all participants fell like me inspired, amazed and greatly impressed to imagine new creations and definitely participating again next year.
Producer & Influencer Gulshat Uzenbaeva
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Foto Chairman Abdulhamid Juma by DIFF I Source first paragraph dcca.gov.ae.