ABU DHABI: Under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation and President of Zayed University, the 6th edition of Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF) will take place on May 17 – 18 at Zayed University Abu Dhabi.
The Awards Ceremony takes place on May 18 at 6.30 pm and will be followed by a Special Screening of Ali F. Mostafa’s film “From A to B.” The film shows the journey of three childhood friends who reunite for a road trip to honor their deceased friend.
“I remember attending the first festival in the old campus” says Ali F. Mostafa, “and to see its continuing growth is so inspiring. I’m proud to have my film shown at ZUMEFF and I hope it manages to inspire a new generation of filmmakers.”
The 15 ZUMEFF Finalists are now in the hands of three industry judges: Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director, Dubai International Film Festival, Scandar Copti, an Oscar nominated filmmaker and Chris Newbould, film correspondent at The National.
They will choose the Best of the Best, Best Narrative, Best Animation and Best Documentary Film, in addition to the New York Film Academy/ZUMEFF Aspiring Filmmaker Award. The finalists are from seven countries including Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Qatar, Egypt, Cyprus and the UAE. Overall, the festival has selected about sixty films from 16 countries to show in the festival.
“I think the finalists share one important element: Creativity. Capturing an honest moment in a film is a very hard task, and I believe the finalist did that in their films. I hope they continue in the same path as they have a bright future in filmmaking” says Masoud Amralla Al Ali, the Artistic Director of the Dubai International Film Festival:
A full description of the finalists and the screening schedule can be found at: www.zumeff.com
ZUMEFF will also offer workshops by Nikon and Scandar Copti, an exhibition by the Dubai Moving Image Museum, and a photo exhibit by Zayed University student Sara Al Balooshi.
“We are very happy with the more than 100 submissions that we received this year and we feel privileged to showcase the work of the young and talented Arab directors. It is great to see the festival grow year by year and we are extremely proud to add even more to ZUMEFF this year with the workshops and exhibitions by our partners,” says Sascha Ritter, the Faculty Director of ZUMEFF.
ZUMEFF’s sponsors and partners this year include Etihad Airways, Park Rotana, New York Film Academy, Imagenation, Nikon, Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, Fast Rent A Car, Noble Printing, Vital, du, Abela, Aflamnah, UAE National Film Library and Archive, Dubai Moving Image Museum and Zayed University.
About the ZUMEFF 2015 Industry Judges
MASOUD AMRALLA AL ALI, Artistic Director, Dubai International Film Festival
Masoud curates all Festival programming, overseeing the feature films, documentaries and shorts selected for the Arab and international sections. He also oversees the Festival’s competitive Muhr Emirati and Muhr Arab Awards.
His dedication to the region’s talent led Masoud to found the Emirates Film Competition in 2001. The UAE’s first showcase for local film talent, the annual competition is widely recognized as a turning point for Gulf cinema and a critical launch pad for its talent.
SCANDAR COPTI, Oscar nominated filmmaker
Scandar is a filmmaker whose debut full-length feature film “Ajami” won the Camera d’Or Special Mention in Cannes and was nominated for the 82nd Academy Awards (Oscars). He has written, directed, and edited several fiction, documentary, and experimental short films. His video art projects were exhibited worldwide. He was part of the team that launched the Doha Film Institute where he headed the Education department and taught screenwriting, directing, and working with non-actors.
CHRIS NEWBOULD, Film Correspondent, The National
Chris is a Film Correspondent for The National’s Arts & Life section, covering regional and international festivals, the Middle Eastern film industry and all the latest Hollywood, Bollywood and international releases. Previously Editor of Digital Studio Middle East, he has covered TV, film and music writing in the UK for The Guardian’s City Life and Weekend Guide.
The Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF) is a Middle East wide film festival for students by students. Now in its 6th year, it showcases that best films from universities across the region. The festival screenings will be on 17-18 May 2015.
Last year, the festival showed over 40 films from more than 20 universities and eight countries from the Middle East. Top prizes were determined by student and industry judges in five categories: Best of the Best, Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Animation and the NYFA/ZUMEFF Award for Best Aspiring Filmmaker.
Winners are flown to Abu Dhabi to take part in a closing event attended by regional filmmakers and celebrities.
ZUMEFF is organized as a class, in which students do the marketing, film evaluations, event organization, artwork and printing, outreach, advertising and public relations.
ZUMEFF was established in 2010 as a graduation project by AlYazyah Al Falasi, Reema Majed and Faculty Director Alia Yunis, with the aim to showcase students’ films and encourage young filmmakers in the region.