This year, Diff upped its Oscar game after forming a selection committee approved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making the UAE eligible to submit a film for the foreign-language Oscar.
In the end the country did not do so because pickings among locally released Emirati features were too slim.
Pandya and Dubai’s top brass began establishing a rapport with the Academy in 2013 and have strengthened ties since then, hosting former AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs at the fest last year. For the upcoming edition the fest has booked Isaacs’ successor, John Bailey, to make the trek and hold several panels.
Last year Diff began building bridges with the Golden Globes, presenting two Arabic