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2014 Rules and Regulations

Key 2014 dates

  • 14 April 2014 – Submissions open
  • 15 July 2014 – Deadline for submissions
  • 23 October to 1 November 2014 – 8th Abu Dhabi Film Festival

1. Competition sections, awards and prizes

Films in the Emirates Film Competition contend for Black Pearl Awards in the following categories:

1.1 Short Narrative Competition
Short fiction films selected from the UAE and the GCC countries.

  • 1st Prize (30,000 AED)
  • 2nd Prize (25,000 AED)
  • Special Jury Award (25,000 AED)

1.2 Short Documentary Competition
Short non-fiction films selected from the UAE and the GCC countries.

  • 1st Prize (30,000 AED)
  • 2nd Prize (25,000 AED)
  • Special Jury Award (25,000 AED)

1.3 Student Short Narrative Competition
Short fiction student films selected from the UAE and the GCC countries.

  • 1st Prize (20,000 AED)
  • 2nd Prize (15,000 AED)
  • 3rd Prize (10,000 AED)

1.4 Student Short Documentary Competition
Short non-fiction student films selected from the UAE and the GCC countries.

  • 1st Prize (20,000 AED)
  • 2nd Prize  (15,000 AED)
  • 3rd Prize (10,000 AED)

1.5 The "Best Emarati Film" (25,000 AED) “Best Cinematography” (10,000 AED) and “Best Script” (10,000 AED) awards may be given to any film in the competition.

1.6 Each award will only be given to a single film. Awards may not be shared among films.

2. Jury

2.1 Emirates Film Competition will have its own Jury comprised of a president and four other members chosen from among outstanding international figures in film, culture and art.

2.2 The decisions of the jury are final.

3. Eligibility for entry

3.1 Premiere status: Priority will be given to world and international premieres.

3.2 Emirates Film Competition only accepts films made in the UAE and GCC countries.

3.3 To be considered for the Emirates Film Competition, a film must be directed by a filmmaker of Gulf nationality or origin and/or must have a significant focus on the Gulf, its culture, its traditions or its history.  The Gulf is defined as being composed of the member states of the GCC: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar.   

3.4 Films may not have been released or publicly exhibited before 1 November 2013.

3.5 Unless approved in advance by the Festival, films may not be publicly broadcast via TV, Internet or otherwise, prior to or during the Festival’s 2014 edition, except on a non-commercial website only and for a limited period (e.g., as part of an online-only film festival).

3.6 Films that have been submitted to prior editions of the Festival will not be considered unless they have been altered significantly. The Festival reserves the right not to consider any previously submitted film.

3.7 All films must be subtitled in either Arabic or English depending on language of the film. In the case that the film is in neither language it must be subtitled in both Arabic and English.

3.8 All films must have a running time of 40 minutes or less.

4. How to enter

4.1 No entry fee is required to submit a film to the Festival.

4.2 All entries must be submitted on or before 15 July 2014 by completing the entry form and mailing the DVD of the film for arrival at the Festival offices by the same date of 15 July 2014.

4.3 You may submit a work-in-progress but please identify it as such on the entry form and the DVD. You must submit the final version of the film by 1 August 2014. 

4.4 Submissions must include the following materials:
Three multi-zone or region-free DVD copies of the film with English subtitles. Each DVD must be clearly marked with the film’s title, director’s name, year and country of production and running time.
Press materials including production credit list, synopsis in English, director’s biography and filmography, in English (and Arabic if available).

4.5 Shipping costs for submissions must be covered by the submitter. Submission materials will not be returned unless previously agreed upon between the submitter and the Festival.

4.6 Submission of a film for selection implies unconditional acceptance of the Rules & Regulations.

4.7 Submissions should be sent to the address below in envelopes clearly marked with “For cultural use only” and “No commercial value.”

Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Attention: Programming Department
Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Tawasol mailroom
Khalifa Park, Off Salam Street
PO Box 77935, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tel: +971 2 556 4000 / +971 2 401 2382
Fax: +971 2 556 4343
E-mail: /

5. Film invitations

5.1 The Festival reserves the right to assign each film to the section it believes most appropriate.

5.2 Invited films will be informed by the Festival no later than late August 2014. Most correspondence will be conducted via email.

5.3 The invitation will include a Film Information Form and a List of Materials to be duly completed and sent back to the Festival by 1 September 2014. The Film Information Form, duly signed, will be taken as a document attesting the legally binding acceptance of the invitation by all concerned and will be considered definitive and irrevocable. It will also serve as a binding agreement that all materials related to the presentation of the film will be sent to the Festival.

5.4 Any changes to the information in the entry form should be communicated to the Festival without delay.

5.5 The Festival will announce its program in September 2014.

5.6 The invitation must remain strictly confidential until the Festival’s program is officially announced either in a press conference or an official press release. Any exception must be approved in writing by the Festival.

5.7 If a film has not been selected, the Festival will do its best to inform the submitter before the announcement of the program. Although the Festival’s programmers may communicate with filmmakers regarding their films, the Festival reserves the right to make no comment on the reasons for not selecting a film.

6. Requirements and information for invited films

6.1 The exhibition copy must be in one of the following formats: (a) DCP, (b) HDCAM tape or (c) Digital Betacam PAL tape.

6.2 An English-subtitled screening copy must be provided for all films not in English.

6.3 A completed Film Information Form and list of materials.

6.4 The Festival reserves the right to screen each film up to three times with tickets sold for all screenings and will choose at its sole discretion the screening schedule for each film. A fourth screening may be held for accredited press and industry guests.

7. Shipping and insurance

7.1 The Festival will cover the cost of shipping the exhibition copy to and from the Festival offices. In cases where the exhibition copy is to be sent to another festival, all shipping costs will be the responsibility of the receiving party.

7.2 The Festival covers insurance costs for the exhibition copies of all invited films while they are in the Festival’s possession. All insurance costs for shipping the exhibition copy to and from the Festival must be covered by the shipping agent or sender. In the case of loss or damage, the Festival will only be responsible for replacement value of the print if it was originally received by the Festival in good condition and if notification of the damage is received no later than 20 November 2014.

7.3 All exhibition copies must reach the Festival offices no later than 23 September 2014. If the exhibition copy is not in perfect condition, the Festival may refuse to present it.

8. Additional terms

8.1 These Rules & Regulations shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Federal laws of the United Arab Emirates as applicable therein. Disputes arising in connection with these Rules & Regulations shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

8.2 These Rules & Regulations represent the entire understanding and agreement between the Festival and you concerning the submittal and selection of your film for the Festival. Any and all previous courses of dealing, written or oral understandings, discussions, representations, correspondence and communications between you and the Festival relating to the matters covered herein are hereby superseded. You hereby agree that you have not relied upon, and will have no remedy in respect of, any warranty, statement, representation or understanding made by any party including the Festival unless it is expressly set out herein. 

8.3 All notices shall be given to the Festival via email at 

8.4 If any provision of these Rules & Regulations is held by any competent authority to be invalid or unenforceable in whole or in part, the validity of the other provisions herein and the remainder of the provisions in question shall not be affected. 

8.5 The Festival reserves the right to change these Rules & Regulations without notice. We may assign, transfer, novate or subcontract any or all of our rights and obligations hereunder at any time. 

8.6 These Rules & Regulations are available in English and Arabic languages. For the avoidance of doubt the English-language version shall at all times take precedence in the event of any discrepancy.