The movie industry of the Middle East continues to expand! On Tuesday I told you about plans to revive the Baghdad International Film Festival. Now Variety reports that a new event, the Gulf Film Festival, is coming to the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai next April 9-15.

The fest is being organized by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority in association with Dubai Studio City, two institutions dedicated to increasing Dubai and the UAE's foothold in the media world.

Dubai is an ultra-modern, ultra-rich city on the Persian Gulf that is already home to some high-profile film events. The Dubai International Film Festival started in 2004 (its fourth go-round will be Dec. 9-16), while the new Middle East International Film Festival just had a successful launch in October.

The new fest is meant to promote Arab cinema and will focus almost exclusively on films from Persian Gulf nations. If you're not up on your geography, those are Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Yemen doesn't actually border the Gulf but is being included in the fest. Iran does border the Gulf but is not included because it's not considered an Arab country. (Slate has an interesting article on that subject, if you're into that sort of thing.)

A select number of non-Gulf films will also be included, but the main purpose is to draw attention to homegrown material. There will also be a screenplay competition associated with the film festival, open exclusively to Gulf nationals.
categories Cinematical