The theme of the festival is "Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds" and focuses on promoting better understanding and mutual respect between different communities and countries, in addition to promoting Arab filmmaking. Now the festival is an important meeting point for international and regional filmmakers and industry professionals setting the foundation for potential future collaborations.
Since its inaugural edition in 2004, DIFF has presented the finest selection of Arab and world cinema to its audiences and has also hosted the talents responsible for the films and other internationally acclaimed celebrities. The range of films screened is tremendous as the themes and topics include politically charged commentaries on international conflicts, thrillers, science fiction, drama, docu-dramas, and comedies.
DIFF has proved to be a high-profile platform for aspiring Arab filmmakers and talent and considers the development of a thriving Arab film industry as one of its main objectives.
In order to facilitate greater opportunities for regional Arab talent, the Muhr Awards was launched at the 2006 edition. Arabic films compete for top honours, which are decided by an esteemed jury, during the course of the festival.
DIFF recognises the power of cinema and the attention it attracts from the media –- international and local –- presenting an opportune moment to highlight pressing humanitarian causes. Since the inaugural edition, DIFF has included charity events within its schedule to raise funds and awareness for Unicef and the World Food Programme.
The 2007 DIFF will host Cinema Against AIDS Dubai 2007 to benefit amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. The star-studded fundraiser will be held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Hussein. The UAE government is also playing a key role with the country’s Ministry of Health supporting the event and declaring the week of the amfAR benefit as UAE Aids Awareness Week.
DIFF has also partnered with Unicef to organise five-day workshops called “OneMinutesJr”, which creates an opportunity for under-privileged kids to attend a video production training programme for free. Participants receive guidance in camera skills, shot and sound choices, story development and basic editing. The final product of 60-second videos by filmmakers between 12 and 20 years will be screened at the 2008 edition of DIFF.