Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert returns to conservation reserve for its third year

Festival is being held under the theme Stories at One with Nature

Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert is organised by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Photo: Dubai Culture
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‘Tis the season of the outdoors, and Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert is a reason to tread off the beaten path to explore nature alongside independent cinema.

The festival, now in its third year, is organised by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. It is running from January 12 to 21 at Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve. Taking place under the theme Stories at One with Nature, the event will involve the screening of more than 70 regional and international films.

Many of them will be competing in the Al Marmoom Short Film Competition. Key figures from the local and regional entertainment industry will be judging across three categories.

The animation category will be overseen by Haidar Mohammed, an Emirati caricaturist and animation director; Wael Attili, chief strategy officer and vice president of content at the Jordan-based production house Kharabeesh; and Inas Yacoub, the Bahraini director behind the animation series Lantern's Tales.

The panel for the documentary category, meanwhile, includes Lebanese actor and Perfect Strangers star Georges Khabbaz; Emirati director Nahla Al Fahad, whose works include The Tainted Veil and 218: Behind the Wall of Silence; as well as Egyptian filmmaker Tamer Mohsen, who directed award-winning movie Ot w Far.

The live-action category panel comprises the Emirati director of al-Hilm Hani Al Shaibani; Egyptian director of the series Moussa Mohamed Salama, and Emirati actress Salama Al Mazrouei, who has starred in several shorts including Scattered Barriers and

The winning films, to be revealed at the festival’s closing ceremony on January 21, will each receive Dh30,000.

Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert will also host talks with industry experts and workshops related to theatre and cinema. The venue will also feature exhibitions that delve into the history of cinema. These include Cinematic Masterpieces, which will highlight objects from the collection of Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation.

The festival will also celebrate traditional Emirati culture by highlighting crafts such as Al Talli and Al Khoos, giving visitors the chance to see the artistry involved in traditional weaves. Furthermore, home-grown food concepts will also feature in the event’s Proudly from Dubai Market section.

The 10-day festival will run from 5pm to midnight at weekends and until 10pm on weekdays. The festival is offering a free shuttle bus service from Gold and Diamond Park 2 to Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.

More information is available at the official Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert Instagram page.

Updated: January 12, 2024, 2:03 PM