Event set for April 13 - 18

Bahraini helmer Hussain Abbas Al Hulaibi’s “Four Girls” will open the inaugural Gulf Film Festival, set to unspool in Dubai April 13-18.

Pic revolves around the struggles of four young women from different backgrounds who come together to solve their financial crisis.

Main competition includes Hulaibi’s feature along with two features from Saudi helmers, Abdulla Abo Talib’s “The Forgotten Village,” a horror pic set in a sleepy village, and Mamoun Bonni’s “Sabah Allil,” which follows a truck driver through three important moments in Arab history; Iraqi helmer Mohammed Al-Daradji’s “Ahlaam,” shot on location in Baghdad; Kuwaiti Faisal Sham’s preem of “Al Donjowana,” and Kuwaiti Hasan Abdal’s gangster thriller “One More Chance.”

Winner lands a cash prize of $13,000, with $9,500 for the runner-up.

Fest, which spotlights films from across the Gulf region, is the first of its kind to be held in the Arab world. Organizers received more than 200 submissions, mostly shorts and docs.

“The selected films represent the growing community of filmmakers with a passion to showcase the diversity and breadth of creativity that exists within the Gulf, raising the profile of contemporary Arab cinema,” said fest director Masoud Amralla Al Ali, who is also artistic director of the Dubai Intl. Film Festival.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more