The Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF) is a non-profit event funded by Zayed University and its sponsoring partners and supporters. ZUMEFF was founded in 2010 as a capstone project by two students and has since grown to have involved 19 countries and more than 40 universities and higher learning institutions.
Taught as a female class, (COM 475) this is a cross cultural festival made for students by students; it is a link that connects people with the same interests and gives them a chance to meet film professionals and faculty from the Middle East and get feedback from them, as well as their peers. In addition, the organizing of the event adds a great experience to the students’ university lives, allowing them to implement all that they have learned in communications, business, and the arts.
ZUMEFF is the first of its kind in the Middle East. It has brought together universities from across the Arab world and hosted faculty and students from those universities. It’s success has led to other universities attempting to do the same but ZUMEFF is still the most recognized. ZUMEFF is consistently covered by local and regional newspapers and television, and guests include the top film industry figures in the UAE.
In 2015 ZUMEFF showcased 65 films from 120 submissions that were sent in from students from 19 different countries (UAE, Egypt, Qatar, Tunesia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, France, USA, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Germany, Canada, Morocco, UK). The two day screenings attracted an audience of 1.200 visitors and an additional 600 guests attended the Awards Ceremony and our special “From A to B” screening. The festival was under the patronage of H.E. Sheikha Lubna int Qasimi.
In October ZUMEFF hosted a special panorama section at Europe’s biggest Arab Film Festival in Malmo, Sweden.
In 2016 the festival will take place on 1 – 2 May at the Zayed University Conference Center Auditorium in Abu Dhabi. This year’s judges will be Alaa Karkouti from the Arab Cinema Center, Butheina Kazim, the founder of Cinema Akil and Majid Al Ansari, the director of Zinzana who was just named Middle East Filmmaker of the Year.
Photo Credit: www.zajelzu.ae