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'Moving Images': A new partnership exploring the intersection between art and film in the Arab world
Sean Gullette, Film still from 'Traitors', 2013. Film. Courtesy: Dubai International Film Festival.

DUBAI.- Bringing together the region’s leading film platform—Dubai International Film Festival—and seminal art and culture organisations, Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Dubai, Moving Images is a long-term initiative that includes screenings and talks, as well as the sharing of expertise and ideas. It marks the first such initiative in the Arab world, dedicated to artists’ films and filmmakers’ art.

Moving Images begins with a discussion on Monday December 9, part of the Dubai Film Market’s discussion programme, involving speakers from across the worlds of art and film. The partnership continues throughout the year, with screenings in Dubai and Sharjah, and with specially-curated programmes at the Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Dubai in March 2014.

Moving Images epitomises the shared expertise and combined resources of the three partnering organisations in the field of art and cinema. The programme aims to increase access to and the understanding of artists’ films; support artists and filmmakers from the Arab world through new opportunities; and debate existing and future models for funding and distribution through the UAE and beyond.

“As the importance of film as a medium for artistic expression continues to grow, it is critical that artists are able to find support at all stages in the process from the early research and development of an idea through to the realisation and release of the final work to an audience,” stated President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi. “Sharjah Art Foundation has helped many artists throughout this process over the years and we are pleased to be part of this important new initiative that will benefit both artists and the growing audience for film in the UAE.”

Moving Images starts with a day of case studies and debate for delegates at the Dubai International Film Festival on December 9, offering insights into the confluence between art and film—from the role of the arts foundation to directors, producers, critics, gallerists and distributors. Speakers include Eve Gabereau—Managing Director, Soda Pictures; Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi—President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation; Sean Gullette—Actor/Director, Traitors; Omar Kholeif—writer/curator and founder-director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival; Simon Field—writer, curator, director; producer, New Crowned Hope film series; Hakim Belabbes—director, lecturer in film at the School of the Art, Institute of Chicago; Claudia Cellini—co-founder and director, the Third Line; Umer Butt—Founder and Co-Director, Grey Noise; and Antonia Carver—Fair Director, Art Dubai.

For the past ten years, alongside contemporary world cinema, the Dubai International Film Festival has actively promoted experimental film and documentary from the Arab world; the festival has become an essential launchpad for upcoming film talent.

Shivani Pandya, Managing Director, Dubai International Film Festival, commented: “Moving Images explores the intersection of visual art and film, two disciplines that are very closely linked. Visual aesthetic is a crucial part of cinema, with filmmakers using it to shape and create characters and worlds. Both art and film are exceptional mediums for encouraging thought, presenting new ideas, and inspiring audiences.”

Sharjah Art Foundation—with its dedicated outdoor cinema, is strongly committed to supporting artists working with film and video. The foundation has a solid record of commissioning, producing and showcasing artists’ films through its year-round exhibitions and the Biennial, and has awarded grants through its ‘Production Programme’ to artists and filmmakers: Mario Rizzi’s ‘Al Intithar' and Sean Gullette’s ‘Traitors’, both co-produced by Sharjah Art Foundation, screen at DIFF this year.

Over the past 8 years, Art Dubai has become a major meeting point for artists, gallerists, collectors, writers and producers. Galleries note an increased interest in film and video, while the fair’s not-for-profit programme has a strong emphasis on artists’ film. Antonia Carver, Fair Director, Art Dubai, says, “The last 15 years have seen the rise of artists’ film and video in the Arab world; now seems like an crucial time to examine this movement and its relationship with cinema.”

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