“Film is such a powerful tool for cultural expression and exchange”, explains Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, the founder of Quantum Global Group, an Angola-based investment conglomerate. On the occasion of Dubai International Film Festival 2017, several celebrities, actors, and entrepreneurs from around the world graced the red carpet.
“As we are seeking to build a presence in Dubai, it is natural for me to invest in cinema, and in particular, local Arab and Emirati films making through the Muhr Award. It is interesting to me that indigenous film-making is growing strong, both in the Arab world and in Africa, Nollywood is a good example,” adds Jean Claude Bastos de Morais.
The entrepreneur’s opinion on Emirati movies can be best explicated through ‘Alaat Haddah’ (Sharp Tools), a creative documentary on late Hassan Sharif, the well-known Emirati artist. The movie, directed by Nujoom Alghanem, won the award for Best Muhr Emirati Feature. ‘Horoob’ (Escape), another Emirati feature film, won the Best Muhr Emirati Short award.
The competition has grown as movies from UAE, Lebanon, and other Arabic-speaking countries are making headlines. Earlier, Egyptian movies had a monopoly on the box offices as it’s considered to have a more liberal outlook towards cinema and music. Moreover, the viewership is greater in Egypt than in any other Middle Eastern country.
DIFF 2017 had a gala of well-known actors. Sir Patrick Stewart was the most distinguished in the lot. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to international cinema. The event proved to be a herald of good news for Star Trek nerds as well. Sir Patrick Stewart may reprise his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the forthcoming Star Trek installment if director Quentin Tarantino pitch is successful.
Saudi producer, Maan B commended Saudi Arabia’s initiative to grant licenses to commercial movie theatres. Without an infrastructure in the world of cinema, many aspiring filmmakers had to give up their dreams. Maan B has a scholarship in film-making, which didn’t look too useful due to the lack of theatres in Saudi Arabia. This 35-year-old hiatus will push ‘Vision 2030’ of Saudi Arabia, which would reinvent Saudi Arabia as a business-diversified country.
Perhaps the best part of DIFF was the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premier. Viewers were exhilarated with the new Star Wars installment that featured Mark Hamill reprising the role of Luke Skywalker.
The Dubai International Film Festival is a
perfect platform to bring investors like Jean Claude Bastos de Morais and
filmmakers like Nujoom Alghanem, Yaser Al Neyadi, and Abdullah Aljunaibi. With
more investments, hopefully, the reach of Arabic cinema will increase in the
future so the world doesn’t miss thought-provoking films like Sabyea.