It will be a few more days before we find out the lineup for the inaugural edition of the Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, but festival programmers have announced one thing already: a short-film competition open to anyone living in the Middle East.

The Hayah Film Competition ("hayah" is Arabic for "life"), sponsored by the festival and by Abu Dhabi Women's College, is taking the theme "life at the size of an iPod screen." Projects must be less than five minutes long and submitted in an iPod-compatible format. All the entries will be watched and judged on iPods; it may not surprise you to learn that EmiratesMac Apple User Group is also a presenting partner in the competition. Entries can be submitted now through Sept. 27, and prizes (including cash) will be given in student, professional, and amateur categories.

The Middle East International Film Festival is new, but it has a few things going for it already. One is its director, Jon Fitzgerald, a veteran festival programmer and co-founder of Slamdance, whose appointment Kim Voynar told us about in July. Another is its location. Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world and is the capital of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, a modern, wealthy nation on the Persian Gulf. The film festival will be held at the Emirates Palace, a hotel so opulent it makes Charles Foster Kane's Xanadu look like a Motel 6.

For more information on the short-film competition, visit the Hayah Film Competition's website. For more on the festival itself -- which runs Oct. 14-19 -- check it out here.
categories Cinematical