The Arab Film Awards have been established to be a new Arabic version of the Oscars intended to help promote the Arabic language film industry. The announcement about the awards was made on Sunday at the Dubai Film Festival.
The new awards are the initiative of a group of Arab movie producers and executives and were created through the non profit Arab Film Institute.
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Paul Baboudjian, a former executive director of funding organization Screen Institute Beirut, was quoted in Variety as telling the press, “Being a witness and active member of the bright and rich Arab film scene, I felt we needed to bring together all this energy and exchange experiences and ideas as well as offer wider opportunities in a fast-changing world to our film community.”
The people behind the Arab Film Awards hope that they will help to promote their film industry. An estimated 420 million people around the world speak the language, yet Arab movies have not seemed to make a dent in the foreign language category at the American Academy Awards, the Oscars. Small European nations like Denmark and Sweden whose languages certainly are not by any means international have made a much bigger mark in the world of international film.
Algerian producer, director and founding AFI member Salem Brahimi said, “Look at Eurimages. Its members speak 24 languages between them and they manage to make it work. We’re going to be messy, learn as we go along and probably make mistakes, but even these mistakes will be better than what we do now.”
The inaugural Arab Film Awards ceremony will be held in March 2018 in Dubai and have 19 categories.