A $100,000 prize for an Arab film in pre-production will be launched during the upcoming Dubai Intl. Film Festival (DIFF), financed by the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of the Interior.
The conspicuous prize – consisting of enough cash to possibly jump-start production of an Arab art film – is being called the Societal Screenplay Award. While exact criteria are still being decided, it will go to a project with a script that has elements that can inspire audiences to make their world a better place. The jury will be announced at a later date.
Eligible projects will be selected from either submitted projects or projects recommended by DIFF, which runs the Arab world’s only real film market (pictured). A call for entries is expected to be announced shortly.
“The Ministry of the Interior wants to utilize the power that cinema can have on its audience,” the UAE interior ministry said in a statement.
The drive behind this nod comes from UAE police leaders wanting to encourage initiatives that can send positive messages about people improving their communities.
The UAE Ministry of the Interior is also the initiator of the Child Protection Awards, launched last year at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Those prizes, one for completed film, the other for screenplay of a completed film, are open to non-Arab pics and also carry $100,000 in total ($70,000 for best film and $30,000 for best screenplay).
The Child Protection prizes were won last year respectively by Pakistani director Omar Mullick Bassem’s inspirational docu “These Birds Walk,” about street children in Karachi (best film), and by Japanese helmer Hirokazu Kore-eda’s babies-switched-at-birth drama “Like Father, Like Son” (best screenplay). The jury of those nods at Abu Dhabi was headed by prominent Egyptian film and TV star Khaled Abol Naga.
The 11th edition of DIFF will run Dec. 10-17.