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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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Neil D. Stephenson opens his first Dubai Festival

I am delighted to welcome everyone aboard as the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) embarks on its maiden voyage on December 6, 2004. I extend a warm welcome to two very special groups of people: our visiting guests who have travelled to Dubai from all over the world, perhaps for the first time, to participate in our festival, and also, my fellow members of the Dubai community. This festival has been created for these two all-important constituencies.

Over the last two years, we at Dubai Media City have been enthusiastically looking forward to this new festival and we sincerely hope that the entire Dubai community, as well as the international film community, will block off their calendars every year in order to immerse themselves in wonderful films, while enjoying the ubiquitous delights of Dubai during the balmy days of early December.

I am especially honoured to be part of a new festival which has such a strong sense of identity and purpose. We knew we had to be bold in our thinking about this festival, and we had to be able to thoughtfully and convincingly answer a simple question: “Why does this festival exist and what value does it add?”

The answer boils down to two key ideas. First, we want our festival to be a showcase for true excellence in Arab cinema and to become the prime “destination festival” from which the international film community can discover the state of the art of Arab cinema. The festival’s programming will always be broad and international to reflect Dubai’s multi-cultural, cosmopolitan and tolerant society, but we feel that quality Arab cinema should always serve as the festival’s anchoring cornerstone.

Second, we hope that our festival will build an important new cultural bridge that can serve as a forum for a new and meaningful global discourse about world affairs through the medium of film. In so doing, we hope to make a contribution, however small, to an improved cross-cultural understanding and enlightened conversation on the world stage.

These two overriding precepts of our festival are somewhat lofty and ambitious, and will take some time to firmly take root and bear fruit. However, we are confident that, in these underpinning concepts, we have a solid foundation upon which this festival can grow and truly prosper in the years ahead. We also feel confident that they give the Dubai International Film Festival the chance to become, one day very soon, one of the great film festivals of the world.

I hope that all of you, during the coming days, will discover a few cinematic treasures that will cause you to look forward impatiently to the second edition of the DIFF in December 2005.

Have a wonderful time at the festival.

Neil D. Stephenson
CEO and Festival Director

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