UAE film fest to promote understanding of Islam

September 18th, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Jane FondaAbu Dhabi, Sep 18 (IANS) An initiative to promote understanding about Islam and the Muslim world to the US entertainment industry and a special tribute to veteran Hollywood star Jane Fonda are among the highlights of this year’s Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF).The second edition of MEIFF, to be held here Oct 10-19, will also see prize money across various categories totalling over $1 million, the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

This year’s event will see the launch of ‘Muslims on Screen and Television’ (MOST) initiative, designed to become “a cultural resource center providing valuable resources and information on Islam and Muslims for the US entertainment community”.

Its aim is to meet the critical need for increased understanding and accurate representation on both sides at a time of tension and suspicion between the US and the Muslim world, the report quoted MEIFF executive director Nashwa Al Ruwaini as saying.

The new initiative is being launched in collaboration with the Saban Center for Middle Eastern Policy at the Brookings Institute in Washington.

“Abu Dhabi’s cultural project, with its future horizons and openness to the other, would not be completed without a strong presence of cinema which constitutes one of the major themes of contemporary culture,” Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the MEIFF vice chairman and director general of the Abu Dhabi Authority on Culture and Heritage (ADACH), said while announcing the agenda of MEIFF 2008.

This year’s MEIFF will be held across 10 days and the prize money for the prestigious Black Pearl Awards has been increased to over a million dollars.

The Black pearls will be presented in the categories of fiction, documentary, animation, shorts, student films and animation.

“Our extended 10 days of the festival along with the new and returning sections of the festival will add on to the quality of achieving status as a must attend festival,” Ruwaini said.

In its second year, she said, MEIFF would strive to become a centre for filmmakers in the region and internationally to meet and present their films in a city fast becoming the leading cultural centre in the Middle East.

Another highlight in this year’s event is a tribute to Hollywood veteran and two-time Academy award winner Jane Fonda.

In this year’s festival, films from 35 countries will be screened.

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