A new $100,000 prize for an Arab film in pre-production will be launched during the upcoming Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), financed by the United Arab Emirates' Ministry of the Interior.

The conspicuous prize - ­ consisting of enough cash to possibly jump start production of an Arab art film - is being called the Best Societal Screenplay Award. While exact criteria are still being decided, it will go to a project with a script that has elements that can inspire audiences to make their world a better place. The jury will be announced at a later date.

Eligible projects will be selected from either submitted projects or projects recommended by DIFF which runs the Arab world's only real film market (pictured). A call for entries is expected to be announced shortly.

"The Ministry of Interior wants to utilize the power that cinema can have on its audience," the UAE interior ministry said in a statement.

The drive behind this nod comes from UAE police leaders wanting to encourage initiatives that can send positive messages about people improving their communities.

The main champion of this unique initiative, which sees law enforcement and film forge a potentially constructive rapport, is Lt. Col. Faisal Mohammed AlShimmari, Director of the UAE Ministry of the Interior's child protection center.

AlShimmari is also the initiator of the Child Protection Awards, launched last year at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Those prizes, one for best completed film, the other for best screenplay of a completed film, are open to non-Arab pics and carry less cash.

The Child Protection prizes were won last year respectively by Pakistani director Omar Mullick Bassem's inspirational docu "These Birds Walk," about street children in Karachi (picture), and by Japanese helmer Hirokazu Kore-eda's babies-switched-at-birth drama "Like Father, Like Son" (script). The jury of those nods at Abu Dhabi was headed by prominent Egyptian film and TV star Khaled Abol Naga.

The 11th edition of DIFF will run December 10-17.



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