The Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, organisers of the Dubai International Film Festival, have announced plans to launch a Gulf cinema event.

The competitive Gulf Film Festival, in assocation with Dubai Studio City (also a partner in DIFF), will be devoted to films from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Iraq and Yemen. The first festival will run April 9-15, 2008.

The move comes as DIFF plans its fourth edition Dec 9-16 and Abu Dhabi 's Middle East International Film Festival recently held its successful inaugural run in October.

The programme will also include select international films and plans to showcase what Gulf cinema can mean for the international film world.

Arab cinema veteran Massoud Amralla al Ali has been named festival director.

Abdulhamid Juma, Deputy Director General, TECOM Authority and Chairman of DIFF, said: 'We are proud to support an initiative that furthers our mandate of promoting Arab cinema. It has always been clear to us that this region abounds with talent and is a viable and rich setting for quality cinema in its own right.'

The programme will include the official competition, out-of-competition Gulf features and shorts, In Their Eyes for foreign nationals living in the Gulf region, the Best Of Arab Short Films (programmed from submissions to the Muhr Awards at DIFF), Intersections of international short films; In The Spotlight of other shorts.

There will be a separate script competition for Emirati short films and a student competition. In each category, there are cash prizes up to $13,650 (AED 50,000).

The submission deadline is Feb 7, 2008.