Huda Al Khamis Kanoo, founder and artistic director of the Abu Dhabi Festival
The soothing and ethereal music played by the famous Emirati oud player, Rashid Bin Hussain, enthralled the audience as the curtains were raised for the third annual Zayed University Film
Festival (ZUMEFF) at the red carpet event last week.
Budding film makers from 12 countries competed for prizes totalling Dh25,000 in four categories at the festival held at the Zayed University (ZU) Abu Dhabi campus.
\"ZUMEFF is one of the only film festivals in the Middle East organised by students for students,\" said Alyazi Al Farasi, co-founder of ZUMEFF.
The festival started as a graduation project of two media students at ZU in 2010. In this year\'s festival, participants from 12 countries — Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Tunisia, Turkey and the UAE — exhibited their talents.
Emirati film director, Ali Mustafa, was among the many leading names from the UAE and the region\'s film and theatre industries who attended the festival.
\"We are here to extend our support to the budding talent because as film makers it\'s very important for us to encourage and guide the new generation,\" said Mustafa who is well-known for directing the film City of Life.
\"It\'s a new industry [here] and this festival shows people\'s interest and we\'re proud of that because it means the future is bright.\"
Mohammad Yousuf, 23, and Mohammad Swaidan, 21, won the New York Film Academy - Abu Dhabi award for the best emerging film makers for their jointly-produced film The Confined Hope. The award also entitles them to a 12-week scholarship at the academy.
\"I started medicine for a year, but didn\'t want that career,\" said Yousuf who is now a media student at Dubai Men\'s College. \"I love the relationship with the camera and expressing thoughts creatively. It\'s like drawing with movements.\"
The event was also a great learning experience for ZU students. This year more than 14 students worked on organising the festival.