Sunday, December 6, 2009

DIFF 2009 tunes in to new media trends

Dubai, UAE; December 3, 2009: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2009 has tuned into the shifting media trends by bonding with traditional as well as digital media with more than ten leading publishers, television channels and digital companies on board as Media Partners this year.

In a path-breaking movie, DIFF 2009 has redefined its media outlook with a strong digital media component while continuing its partnership with print and audio-visual outlets.

This year, DIFF has on board AMG; DMI; France 24; Good News Cinema; Gulf News; Ahlan!; MBC; Google Youtube; Zee TV; E-Vision; Variety the international premier source of entertainment news; Emirates Neon Group and Orbit Showtime as media partners.

DIFF’s Director of Marketing and Sponsorship Mahsa Motamedi said the media plays a crucial role in effectively conveying the message of DIFF, ‘Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds.’

“As is the norm at DIFF, we are moving in tune with the trends. This year too we have formed strong media partnerships, including new channels that reach out to a wider audience. DIFF is partnering with a good cross section of organisations, across all levels of media, to help us deliver our core messages regionally and internationally,” she added.
DIFF’s media partnerhips also highlight the growing interest of the global media in the festival, which is now regarded as the most definitive film festival in the Middle East, Afria and Asia.

Compared with 450 media registrations in the opening year, DIFF last year had 1,165 accredited media, from around the world, covering the event – an increase of over 150 percent. This has in turn translated to phenomenal growth in audience participation too – with the number of admissions growing by over 110 percent in the past five years.

Now in its sixth year, DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and will be held from December 9 to 16. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). For more information on the festival, please visit

Mentoring, on-the-job skills are twin strategies of DIFF Young Journalist Award

Dubai, UAE; December 3, 2009: Share knowledge, build skills and give room to apply acquired skills – that is the essence of the Dubai International Film Festival Young Journalist Award programme held this year in partnership with MBC Group.

Building on the success of the event last year, the DIFF Young Journalist Award significantly enhances budding journalists’ career development by providing students the opportunity to be mentored by subject experts and apply their skills in a realistic workplace setting.

DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya said cinema, globally, derives its growth impetus from the informed comments and analytical views of writers. “The DIFF Young Journalist Award is one of our key initiatives aimed at capacity-building within the local community,” she said. “It is imperative that we not only share the knowledge but also foster film students’ competitiveness for potential careers through hands-on training. DIFF achieves this through our unique mentoring programme, where they can work under the tutelage of accomplished film professionals.”

This year’s mentorship programme is led by Scott Macaulay, from Filmmaker Magazine and Producer, Forensic Films, and Colin Brown, formerly at Screen International and now at CNBC Business, who will provide specific and in-depth training to a select group of 10 students nominated by UAE-based universities.

Mazen Hayek, Group Director of Marketing, PR & Commercial at MBC Group said: “Our support of the DIFF Young Journalist Award is a key part of MBC’s corporate strategy to foster young Arab talent, sharpen skills, build links with the local community and develop the next generation of film journalists.” Hayek also added: “Content and creative industries are major job creators and have become an integral part of economic activity – hence the capital importance of this partnership between DIFF and MBC Group.”

The main goal is to provide the participants real experience with feedback and tutoring from professional film critics and film journalists. Students will work as news teams, covering events and screenings from December 9 to 14, learning the skills of the trade and honing their journalistic awareness. Although the workshop is organized in co-operation with the film festival, the output from the participants will remain journalistically independent.

The other key component of the programme is the series of open journalism workshops and panel discussions during the first three days of the festival. Topics covered include film review and criticism, film business writing, new technologies like blogging and film festival coverage. The workshops are open to students in the UAE who are currently enrolled in either journalism, film studies, PR or mass media and communications courses.

Now in its sixth year, DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and will be held from December 9 to 16. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). For more information on the festival, please visit

Emirates says it with flowers by announcing flights to Amsterdam

DUBAI, U.A.E., 3rd December 2009 : Emirates is to launch flights to Amsterdam from 1st May 2010.

The international airline of the UAE is also promising further new route announcements in the coming months, supported by continuing aircraft deliveries.

The blossoming of the airline's 23rd route into Europe will bring much awaited news in The Netherlands. The daily, non-stop service from Dubai will be operated with a combination of 777-200LR and 777-300ER aircraft, boasting a three-class configuration and the newest version of ice, the passenger revered in-flight entertainment system. Emirates, with its exquisite Private Suites, will be the only airline offering First Class accommodation on the route.

This is the fourth new destination to be announced this year by the Dubai-based carrier. Durban and Luanda were both launched in October and Tokyo was recently announced with a start date of 28th March 2010.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce a new service into Europe at this time and I'm sure it's a development that will be welcomed with open arms in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is already an important offline market for Emirates and we know there is significant passenger traffic heading from Amsterdam to Dubai and onto Africa, the Indian Sub-continent, Asia and the Far East."

Sheikh Ahmed added: "This is also a major freight hub and one of the world's renowned flower centres. Emirates has served The Netherlands as a freighter destination for fifteen years and currently offers six 747-400 freighter flights a week between Dubai and Amsterdam. The daily passenger flight will allow us to bolster our cargo offering by making use of the belly hold capacity."

Starting 1st May next year, EK 145 will leave Dubai each day at 0825hrs and arrive in Amsterdam at 1330hrs. From Amsterdam, EK 146 departs at 1530hrs, arriving in Dubai at 2359hrs.

The new European service comes on the back of exclusive lounge openings in Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Manchester and extra frequencies to Rome, building up to a double daily in February.

During December, Emirates will take delivery of two further A380s, which will be deployed to Seoul from 14th December and Paris two weeks later.

Last month, the carrier announced half year net profits of Dhs 752 million (US$205 million), representing a 165 percent increase compared to Dhs 284 million (US$77 million) for the period ending 30th September 2008. During the latest results period, the airline carried over 13 million passengers, in excess of 700,000 tonnes of cargo and made an estimated direct contribution of Dhs 10 billion (US$2.72 billion) to the UAE economy.

206 street vendors, beggars, illegal car washers nabbed

Dubai Municipality inspectors, in cooperation with Dubai Police and the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department, nabbed last month 206 persons including street vendors, beggars and illegal car washers. The sweep against the law-breakers had also resulted in the seizure of several low-quality goods and pirated CDs.
A total of 848 inspections were made during the month of November, out of which 480 inspections were scheduled ones and 184 were random checks.
Civic inspectors conduct daily spot checks in streets and public places to prevent street vending, begging and car washing in public places by individuals in violation of a ruling by the Ministry of Labour in this regard. Inspectors at the Control Unit of the Markets Administration Section in the Assets Management Department carry out regular checks to book the violators.
In November 2009, they caught a total of 206 people including 123 street vendors, 26 beggars, 31 car washers and 26 illegal butchers and fish cleaners.
A total of 967 counterfeit products including ready-made garments, perfumes, cameras, and watches that were fake international brands were confiscated. Also, some 3,971 DVDs with pirated films, 143 pornographic movies, in addition to 300 foodstuff items including boxes of fruits and vegetables were seized last month.
The law-breakers, who belong to various nationalities, would be handed over to the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department for deportation in coordination with Dubai Police. The seized goods would be destroyed and disposed off safely after legal actions were taken against the violators.
The public is urged to call the Municipality on the toll-free number 800900 round-the-clock to report such illegal activities.