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22 January, 2024

3rd Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert concludes and honours competition winners

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) concluded the third edition of the ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ festival. The closing ceremony took place at the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, where several films participating in the ‘Al Marmoom Short-Film Competition’ were honoured. ‘Gaza Fish,’ a film by director Mohammed Harb, won first place in the documentary category, the animated film ‘Flower’ directed by Nemar Precioso Sencil claimed the top spot in the animation category, and ‘Bitter Sweetness’ by Zaher Alkusaibati took first place in the live-action category.
Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts & Literature sector at Dubai Culture, attended the closing ceremony along with the festival’s jury members, including Emirati Caricaturist and Animation Director Haidar Mohamad; Wael Attiyelli, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer and VP of Content at Kharabeesh Wael Attili; Emirati director Hani AlShaibani; and Emirati actress Dr Salama Al Mazrouei. The ceremony also included the inaugural screening of the short film ‘Al Marmoom’ by director Hussein Al Ansari, entirely shot at the festival site as a result of a filmmaking workshop organised by Dubai Culture under the supervision of Fahd Al Bakir.
Mouza Al Falasi, Project Manager of Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert, affirmed that the festival provides a comprehensive and diverse cultural experience, contributing to Dubai's cultural vision of becoming a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent, saying: “Al Marmoom Short-Film Competition enhances the festival’s value as a nurturing ground for Emirati, GCC, Arab, and international filmmakers. The competition’s films succeeded in capturing the attention of both the jury members and the audience due to their quality, diversity in themes, artistic and aesthetic levels, reflecting the filmmakers' continuous efforts to deliver the best in their works.”
Al Falasi stressed that as part of its commitment to promoting the local cinema scene, Dubai Culture organised panel discussions, talks, and workshops to elevate the skills of talents. This effort aims to create a sustainable creative environment that uplifts the local film industry and injects new energy into it, reinforcing Dubai's position as an attractive destination for filmmakers.
The festival's third edition witnessed significant success, attracting more than 10,000 visitors over ten days. More than 70 films were screened, showcasing the contributions of Emirati, GCC, Arab, and international filmmakers. The lineup included 56 short films competing for the Al Marmoom Short-Film Competition. The documentary film ‘Wild Dubai’ produced by the Government of Dubai Media Office, is featured along with a selection of documentary films produced by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. Additionally, a lineup of international and Arab films nominated for the Oscars presented by ‘Vox Cinema,’ including the Oscar-nominated film ‘Goodbye Julia’ directed by Mohamed Kordofani, and the Oscar-nominated film ‘HWJN’ directed by Yasir Al-Yasiri, were screened. The list also includes the film ‘The Last Family Dinner’ and ‘The Inseparables,’ directed by Jeremy Jeremy Degruson, as well as ‘The Smurfs Back to Nature.’ Furthermore, Dubai Municipality presented a diverse range of documentaries on natural reserves across Dubai, and ‘Awaan’ digital platform, affiliated with ‘Dubai Media Incorporated’ showcased approximately 18 short films in the kids’ area.
The festival supporting the fourth edition of the ‘World’s Coolest Winter' national tourism campaign, offered visitors the opportunity to join over 30 workshops targeting filmmakers and emerging talents, along with over 20 panel discussions and talks connecting filmmakers with experts in various cinema fields. The programme also featured 13 diverse entertainment, music, and heritage activities, including the ‘Tawi Gbisha’ play by Marei Al Halian, supported by ‘Sandooq Al Watan’, and 25 workshops dedicated to children presented by Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children and Dubai Municipality.
The festival hosted three art exhibitions inspired by the history of cinema, including the ‘Cinematic Masterpieces’ exhibition that features a unique collection of old cinematic posters from His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, along with the Stories at One with Nature exhibition featuring Akaas Visual Arts and the Rashid Center for People of Determination. The festival engaged around 80 volunteers who played a vital role in its success by assisting visitors and providing necessary facilitations for an immersive artistic experience.
The festival was held under the theme of ‘Stories at One with Nature’ in partnership with many public and private entities in Dubai, namely Dubai Film And TV Commission as Lead Partner; Proudly from Dubai, an initiative of Brand Dubai, as F&B Partner; Dubai Media Incorporated, Awaan TV and UAE Media Council as Media Partners; Dubai Municipality, DEWA, Dubai Police, Dubai Corporation For Ambulance Services, Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, and Hala Ride (Careem) as Supporters; and VOX Cinemas, Sandooq Al Watan, Vision3000, Gamma Engineering, Raindance, Rashid Center for People of Determination, Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, and Akaas Visual Arts as Content Supporters.