European funding body Eurimages will hold a board meeting in Dubai during this year’s edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), which runs December 9-16.

The move marks the first time that Eurimages has held a meeting outside of its 36 European member states. It also comes as the funding body has engaged a study group to assess whether it should establish specific links with non-European countries.

“The Eurimages national representatives from all the countries of the fund will have the unique chance to experience the vibrant and inspiring Gulf film scene and meet the local professionals,” said Eurimages in a statement.

Two representatives from each of the Eurimages member countries will attend the meeting, and be fully integrated into the DIFF festival and market, which is expected to help contribute to decisions about enlargement.

“We welcome Eurimages into the Middle East fold and are greatly encouraged by their enthusiasm for Arabic filmmakers and content,” said DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya.

DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma added that engagement with Eurimages could also potentially be useful for the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries to assess whether there’s a need for a similar funding body in the Middle East.