The event will promote goodwill, tolerance, and bilateral cooperation in film and television between the two countries, including the introduction of a new annual film festival.
The UAE will host a special showcase to screen Emirati and Israeli short films as part of the greater strengthening of relations between the two nations.
Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Image Nation and Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School (JSFS), the next edition of the film festival will be a virtual screening event on January 28 and will display four Emirati and four Israeli short films.
To be held at Al Qattara Cinema, the event will bring together filmmakers from the UAE and Israel in celebration of shared experiences.
The selected Emirati shorts include Ostora by Faisal Al Shiryani, Feeding 500 by Rafed Al Harethi, Jumaa & Hakim by Alawi Shareef, and Omnia by Amna Al Nowais. The Israeli films will include Portrait of my Family by Omri Dekel-Kadosh, Blessed by Prague Benbenisty, Swing by Shadi Habib Allah, and If you Only Knew by Einat Gaulan. All entries will contain subtitles.
The event is a first and significant milestone in the agreement between Abu Dhabi Film Commission, the Israel Film Fund (IFF), and JSFS to promote goodwill, tolerance, and bilateral cooperation in film and television between the two countries, including the introduction of a new annual film festival.
Speaking about the event, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi said: “Cultural exchange, artistic cooperation and creative dialogue are at the heart of our cultural agenda at DCT Abu Dhabi and they constitute an intrinsic approach to our cultural initiative. Our aim is to support institutions and initiatives that celebrate cultural expressions from all over the world. Al Qattara Cinema is a landmark event in Abu Dhabi’s cultural calendar and this year will introduce a broad audience to UAE and Israeli short films. We are looking forward to this event as the first collaboration of its kind, aiming to showcase the two nations’ creative talents and strengthen Emirati-Israeli cultural relations.
“Abu Dhabi continues to nurture the culture creative sector as it is an important sector to the Emirate strategic ambitions. The initiative of Al Qattara Cinema continues to support one of the key domains of the creative industry and to provide filmmakers the opportunity to be introduced to the wider segments of our audience.”
Dana Blankstein Cohen, Director of JSFS commented: “I am delighted for this first joint event for our two countries. This historic event is an important bridge for creating a new path, forging cultural ties, and opening opportunities and a variety of professional initiatives between Israeli and Emirati filmmakers. The films selected for this programme by Emirati film professionals allow a peek into current and relevant filmmaking from talented graduates of our school. This is the beginning of a cultural, social and professional dialogue that we will build together with the belief in the creative tools of art as the inspiration for connecting peoples and cultures.”
Lisa Shiloach Uzrad, Director of the Israel Film Fund added: “Who would have believed that one-day Israeli films would be screening in the UAE? I am truly certain that this meeting between Emirati and Israeli filmmakers will lead to real bonds, creating opportunities for both film industries, while connecting people and cultures. This is just the first of many initiatives that we are working on as we expand our cooperation for further joint projects.”
The event will be screened in a pre-recorded video format hosted on the official Abu Dhabi Culture YouTube Channel.