DUBAI: ON.DXB, an initiative of Dubai Media City in cooperation with the Dubai Film & TV Commission that is designed to support the growth and evolution of the region’s film, game, video and music sectors, got underway today as local, regional and international talent converged on Dubai for the eagerly-awaited festival.
Following a sterling rendition of the UAE national anthem by the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra, ON.DXB’s three-day programme of engaging sessions, keynote talks, live concerts, workshops and panel discussions took centre-stage at Dubai Studio City’s Sound Stages.
The event features headline talent including celebrated American filmmaker Spike Lee; Grime MC-turned Top Boy actor Kano; American comedy actress and YouTube sensation Liza Koshy; and respected Saudi gamer MJRM Games,while dozens of global brands including Facebook, Tencent and Spotify as well as entrepreneurs and content creators are conducting sessions.
Majed Al Suwaidi, MD Dubai Media City, said: “We created ON.DXB for a number of reasons – to attract and enhance the best talent in the region, to highlight the emirate’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and business environment, and to emphasise the importance of Dubai in elevating the regional media and entertainment sector on a global level.Through a carefully planned programme and three days of diverse sessions, ON.DXB will support talent development, industry growth and Dubai’s important regional position.”
Jamal Al Sharif, CEO Dubai Film & TV Commission, said: “ON.DXB provides a platform for sharing knowledge and identifying best practices that support the growth and development of the industry. Headliners such as Spike Lee can offer young regional talent so mush insight and knowledge. The event works both ways – Dubai has become a global hub for cinema production,and we are confident that the visiting talent will learn more about our expertise and our progressive legislative environment that inspires creativity and drives business facilitation.”
Day one of ON.DXB featured a broad range of sessions in the Industry Arena, starting with a Facebook-led talk on Social Video, the Content of Our Lives with Fares Akkad, the social media giant’s director of media partnerships. Other sessions included the packed-out ‘An Audience With’ Koshy, and Iraqi blogger Noor Stars, the first Arab YouTuber to reach 10 million subscribers.
Weekend talent ready to shine
One of the big draws in the film sector, Farah Nabulsi, the British-Palestinian filmmaker behind Nightmare of Gaza,will be conducting sessions on Friday and Saturday. “There is a great deal of talent in the region in film, video, music and gaming, and they’re hungry for a festival like ON.DXB,” said Nabulsi. “They want to be able to exchange ideas and perspectives, gain opportunities and advice, and be inspired. ON.DXB has created that space with an all-inclusive festival and conference with a very cool edge.”
Elsewhere, Samer Jamal, Instagram Strategic Partner MENA, will conduct an Instagram Story School on Friday to emphasise the importance of video as a tool for creatives in our hyper-connected world.
“Instagram has always been a place for discovery. People come to be inspired and we’re incredibly excited to be involved with ON.DXB to support and inspire the film, game, video and music communities,” said Jamal. “Video in particular is the most popular type of online content and IGTV is now home to a range of talented creators, both those with established audiences as well as an entirely new generation of up-and-coming creators. We’re looking forward to connecting with the community, learning from their experiences and helping them express themselves authentically, easily, and creatively.”
Saturday will see Stephen George, the founder and CEO of Surkus, anexperiential marketing platform that matches brand experiences and offerings with consumer interests and behaviors to curate ideal audiences, discuss the Gamification of Engagement on the Circle Stage.
“The first ON.DXB festival has the makings of an incredible event. Surkus is all about enabling experiences, offering members fun ways to discover and engage with local businesses and brands. Having only recently launched across the UAE, we’re already blown away by the engagement and love we are seeing from our clients and members. We cannot wait to meet everyone at the event,” said George.