Sunday, 28 October 2007

The wrong kind of screen sirens?

From an anonymous contributor -

For all the media locked out of the gala opening of the Middle East International Film Festival, it's interesting to note that Festival Director Jon Fitzgerald has now fled the country before the shit properly hits the fan.

Poor Jon, the only professional involved in the festival is being blamed for everything, including the non-payment of certain key individuals. Yes, those same individuals who would not let the projectionist into the auditorium for the gala screening of Atonement because he did not have a ticket.

Yet another PR catastrophe for the UAE.

Note from DMO: doesn't bode well for the UAE's film festivals - we hear there is trouble at the DIFF mill too.


Anonymous said...

So what happened at MEIFF exactly?

Anonymous said...

All very interesting, but how about starting by telling us what happened.
Don't worry - you'll get the hang of it. It's called journalism.

Anonymous said...

No it's not, it's blogging not journalism, you twit. And the above story is, so far, a rumor.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 20:54 and 00:45. I'd like a bit of explanation about what the rumour is. What happened with the media lockout? You seem to be assuming everyone already knows about this.
What are you suggesting happened with the projectionist - are we talking a two minute hold-up or a massive delay?
For gawdsake let's not have a debate about whether it's blogging or journalism.

Anonymous said...

So is this thread dead already then?

NOLa Reporter said...

Since the Ministry of Culture deems it necessary to review and edit films for offensive content, I would have thought that the Dubai Film Festival was an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

off topic, but interesting from Guardian....

UAE sheikh to stand trial for 'sexually motivated' assault

David Pallister
Wednesday October 31, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

The brother of the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, one of the richest men in the world, is to stand trial in Switzerland for an alleged assault on an Italian-American businessman in the bar of an exclusive Geneva hotel.
Swiss prosecutor Daniel Zappelli has confirmed that 37-year-old Sheikh Falah bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan will be tried on charges of assaulting Silvano Orsi with a belt in the La Reserve hotel four years ago.

Mr Orsi, 39, claims that he was repeatedly attacked after refusing homosexual advances from the sheikh and has since been unable to work because of his injuries. The sheikh, in evidence to a pre-trial closed hearing last year, claimed that he merely had a 30-second scuffle after he was accused of being gay.
The case will be heard before a three-man tribunal that can impose a sentence of up to two years in prison.

Mr Orsi, of Rochester, New York, says he was having a late evening drink with a Saudi friend when the sheikh sent over an unsolicited bottle of champagne. It remained unopened on the table and a few minutes later, according to Mr Orsi, the shiekh came over and accosted him. When he resisted, the sheikh attacked him and beat him savagely his belt.

Despite the sheikh's bodyguards trying to intervene Mr Orsi says the assault continued as he retreated to the reservation desk. He says he sustained a herniated disc, nerve damage in his right leg and post-traumatic stress disorder. Before he left the hotel, Mr Orsi says, the Emirate's consul in Geneva arrived at the hotel and offered him €13,000 to keep quiet.

At the hearing last year Sheik Fallah admitted that he was annoyed when Mr Orsi refused the champagne but confronted him "after I was called gay," according to a transcript obtained by The Associated Press.

The sheik said he and Mr Orsi grabbed and shook each other violently for about 30 seconds before his bodyguards intervened. He said he took off his belt because Mr Orsi was "bigger than me" and "I was just at the very point of striking him with my belt but we were separated".

Anonymous said...

A more detailed (and scandalous) version of the Sheikh story is at

"A quarter-hour later, Orsi alleged, the man [Sheikh Falah] suddenly came up behind him, jostled his glasses, sat in his lap and tried to kiss and fondle him. "

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. What is it about Swiss hotels and bars, if it's not Mossad agents shooting people it's Uday Hussain types stabbing people to death.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't this in Emirates Today? It's a MASSIVE story.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back on topic, I heard that many of the films shown during MEIFF were NOT censored (presumably because that would make a mockery of having a film festival in the first place) and some scenes had members of the public leaving the auditoria ... and some staying to enjoy the unusually graphic show!

Anonymous said...

How is a couple of guys in a pushing match in a foreign hotel a MASSIVE story? Because of the word GAY in there? Please.

Anonymous said...

For those without an ounce of journalistic ability:

It's a massive story because:

1, It's a member of the royal family on a serious assault charge
2, It's a member of the royal family in a country where homosexuality is illegal involved in a gay incident
3, It was a serious assault and allegedly involved him whipping the guy on the floor with his belt.

If you can't see the news value in that...

Anonymous said...

The incident took place in a country where homesexuality isn't illegal. The story looks like a blow up to anyone with the slightest journalistic sense and most likely an attempt to extract money from a wealthy foreigner. It's a scandal piece and maybe it's massive if you think a picture of Prince Harry at a nightclub with a drink in his hand is front page news but for anyone else it's nothing more than dinner party gossip.

Anonymous said...

What about the champagne? That's illegal here too. Doesn't that make it massive?

Anonymous said...

'Nested parrots in lampshades'.

Go to the link below to see the bar where this alleged incident took place. It looks pretty naff and not at all the kind of place that one would expect unsolicited botty sex with a royal sheikh.

Anonymous said...

So if Harry was accused of whipping someone into a bloody pulp, was subsequently arrested, charged and about to appear in court, you don't think it should be a big story?

Anonymous said...

Champagne is illegal here? Quick...shut down A&E

Anonymous said...

A bloody pulp? The 30 second scuffle description sounds more likely. As far as news value it's pretty poor.

Anonymous said...

But what happened at MEIFF???
And what's brewing at DIFF???

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
But what happened at MEIFF???
And what's brewing at DIFF???"

Exactly - I want to know too!

Anonymous said...

Seeing as this thread has fizzled out a little, can I ask a question?
I'm just back from New Zealand, where they've got a local version of Sky News for Australasia. And I heard a local report voiced by the person who I'm pretty sure is Secret Dubai (it would be bad manners to out them here).
So my question is this, is Secret Dubai's big secret that they're no longer in Dubai?

SD Fan said...

That explains why she's stopped posting so regularly anyway. Good luck to her.

Anonymous said...

Bah. New topic. Anyone got the scoop on what's happening at the Abu Dhabi paper? And who all are the rats clamoring from the older sinking ships onto the new one? Have you lost anyone from your office, and what do the selections tell you about what the new paper is going to be like?

And can I suggest regular nomination of the absolutely dumbest story on the local press?

Anonymous said...

Dumbest story? You'll be spoilt for choice there mate! (although ET must lead the pack...)
So, still no takers for the film festival scoop???

Anonymous said...

has to be in the running!!

“There is no other reasonable explanation but the genies are doing this,” Sulaiman, a colonel in the Civil Defence, said, adding that he did not believe that genies (Spirits with supernatural powers, known as ‘jinn’ in Arabic) were responsible until he witnessed the stange events unfolding in the house for himself...

“I saw with my own eyes my colleagues' hoses becoming tangled up with each other to prevent the water coming out to extinguish the flames. It was so strange.” This week, terrified by the series of strange events, the family had an exorcism performed inside the property. “Furniture and clothes began flying as the ceremony was taking place. The genies were not happy,” Sulaiman explained.

Anonymous said...

Joined up thinking?!

[i]Gulf New Page 1 Saturday November 10[/i]

Dubai: The families of the seven workers who died in the [b]bridge collapse[/b] at a construction site near Dubai Marina on Thursday will get 10 years' salary in compensation, a company representative said on Friday.

[i]Gulf News page 8 Saturday November 10[/i]

"[b]It was not the bridge that collapsed as reported by a section of the media [/b]. A wall was hit by a crane carrying steel frames and the wall collapsed. Of the 19 injured about 15 workers suffered minor injurious while the remaining four workers suffered fractures. They will be given sick leave," said the company representative.

Anonymous said...

The Onion or 7 Days? You decide.

Pizza delivery service praised by reader

I ordered a delivered Pizza from '800PIZZA' in Barsha yesterday. The delivery time was almost 2 hours but under the circumstances, being Thursday, I had to grit my teeth and bear it. After many calls and patient waiting, the food arrived. I've got to say that it was worth the wait. Although cold, it was the best Pizza I had eaten in Dubai. They claim ingredients are imported from Italy which I can believe. The Manager and Chef, Mr Allessandro from Italy called me back and even arranged a replacement hot order sent to ease my frustration. This is not meant to be a plug but simply an appreciation that when things go belly up in a new venture, someone is genuinely there to recover the situation. Mr Allessandro - You have the right attitude!

I'll deffo use you again!

Anonymous said...

Another earth-shattering piece of journalism from Emirates Today, Sat Nov 10...

Senior staff from Arab Media Group have attended the 15th annual conference of the National Organisation for Radio, held in the Spanish city of Barcelona.
The AMG team consisted of 15 directors and an official from each of the eight different stations of its subsidiary Arabian Radio Network.
The annual conference highlighted techniques and challenges facing radio business through lectures over a period of three days.
Mahmoud Rasheed, deputy director-general of ARN, said the conference also helped with AMG’s aims to build on employee performance by meeting forward-thinking peers from different parts of the world.
“AMG’s strategy is aimed at developing and training all its employees through internal and external courses and conferences.
“These events in turn allow participants to convey their newly acquired knowledge to their ARN colleagues.
“The importance of participating in the Barcelona conference cannot be overstated, as the global radio industry is subject to constant change, and we must be ready for this,” said Chetan Fernandez, ARN’s director of operations.
Director of Quality Adel Hussein said: “The aim of participation in events such as this is to bring the best global practices to Dubai, and modify them to suit our environment.” Mohsen Hassan, programme director of Noor Dubai FM, participated from the programming section, along with Matthew Johnson, programme director of Dubai Eye FM, Naseem Ramadan, news director, and other programme managers in ARN.
AMG was the only Middle East broadcaster at the conference this year.
AMG is the parent company of Emirates Today and its sister publication, Emarat Al Youm.

...meanwhile the sports section is carrying three full page house ads every day because there are hardly any staff left.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting story:,8599,1680682,00.html.

Why aren't you talking about it?

There's even a media angle.

Oh yeah.

Anonymous said...

It would help if you provided a link that worked, dufus.

Oh yeah.

Anonymous said...

12 November, 2007 05:37:

I assume you're a journalist in the Gulf. It stands to reason that you do more reporting by Google than journalists in other markets. And yet, I am a "dufus" for providing a broken link? C'mon - this should be easy for you.

If not, simply paste the link in a search engine. That worked for me. I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

But hey, I guess I can understand why a story about nationals allegedly raping an expat kid, government officials apparently lying about one alleged attacker's HIV status, and a parent trying to convince an international audience to see past the Economic Miracle - is somehow NOT the important thing here.

Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Two points:
1/ The case has been reported locally (although not in so much detail)
2/ Even I know how to find out the correct name of a president...

Anonymous said...

No let's stick with the biggest hypocrisy story - it's massive and we won't go that quietly....STOP TRYING TO CENSOR EVEN THIS SITE.

So a member of the royal family not getting his bit of gay cock so resorting to violence - then the consulate offering a payoff - an emirati sheikh sitting on a hot guys lap and fondling and kissinghim - love it - you're right this is the story of the year.

Gulf news and ET just doesnt have the balls to report the truth of life - this is proof of the fakery the Dubai is and why it will never be a major world city.

Truth is there's probably a lot more of going on than we think - but what d'you expect when all the women in the gulf are shut away behind blackcloaks and locked doors.

The sheikh should be brave and just come out as the gay man he really is - then he'll be a lot happier.

Anonymous said...


An entire thread has gone missing from this site.

Has Big Brother spat his dummy out at DMO???

Of course there isn't censorship in the UAE.

Anonymous said...

Which threat went missing from this site? What was it about?

Anonymous said...


and watch this:

If any of you are real journalists, hey, even just human, you will see that the REAL TRUTH about Dubai is finally coming out. aND ITS BAD, VERY VERY BAD

It's a shame the country's leaders only thought of buildings and money andnot state of mind. UAE will ghost town desert in 5 years if they dont change their appalling attitude...