Inaugural Jisr Film Festival Showcases the Best of Modern Arabian Culture in Singapore

Published on 3/21/2024 by Suzie Cho for Asian Movie Pulse

Original Source

Embark on an odyssey into the modern Arabian Gulf with JISR Film Festival, an inaugural cultural festival making its debut in Singapore. JISR offers an immersive experience introducing the rich cultural tapestry of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to local audiences through a three-part program – a film festival (23-24 March and 30-31 March), a business conference (27 March) and an exclusive film studio day tour organised in partnership with Iskandar Malaysia Studios (28 March). The event is presented by food security consultancy firm, SWAPAC, Singapore-based creative agency, Cinepluto in partnership with the Singapore Business Federation, The Middle East Institute, Smart Cities Network and The Projector.

Using art as a medium to connect, JISR will kickstart festivities by bringing an engaging film festival to  Singapore, featuring the works and perspectives of established and emerging filmmakers from the GCC countries. Over two weekends, audiences will get access to a curated selection of 17 films representing the diverse cinematic landscape of the GCC, along the themes of sustainability, animation, sports and female empowerment. Screenings will take place at The Projector in  Singapore, a cinema known for its support for indie and thought-provoking films.

This includes the exclusive premieres of:

    • ‘To Connect’ – a behind-the-scenes documentary by director Amal Al-Muftah about the opening ceremony of the FIFA 2020 World Cup
    • ‘Starchaser’ – an animated, sci-fi fantasy drama about a young refugee girl who bravely faces many hardships in her journey to overcome the loss of her family and home world
    • Other notable filmmakers featured include Nayla Al-Khaja, UAE’s first female director, whose feature film for Dubai Expo 2020, ‘Road to Fulfillment’,
    • Mansoor Al Dhaheri, director of ‘Swim62′, whose documentary made waves at the most recent COP28 summit addressing ocean conservation through the lens of sports,
    • and Shahad Ameen, well-known for her award-winning film, ‘Scales’.


      “We believe film and art has transformative power in bridging cultures and influencing trade. With JISR, we aim to introduce audiences in Singapore to modern Arabian Gulf culture and celebrate our ongoing relationship with the GCC. Through this vibrant exchange of creativity, our goal is to foster connection, embrace diversity, and break age-old stereotypes”, said Livy Von Goh, Founder, Cinepluto.

      A business conference aiming to look beyond borders and horizons through its GCC-APAC Partnership (27 March)

      On March 27, JISR transitions into a dynamic platform for thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and business stakeholders. Titled “Beyond Borders & Horizons: A GCC-APAC Partnership”, the one-day business conference held at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove will bring together hundreds of industry experts, innovators, and influencers from both the GCC and Singapore. Attendees can expect insightful discussions, keynote presentations, exclusive short-film screenings and networking opportunities focused on fostering cross-cultural business collaborations and exploring new horizons of economic growth. Additionally, the conference will provide a unique platform for dialogue on key issues such as energy transition and sustainability, aiming to inspire vital discussions on these topics within the GCC and ASEAN regions.

      Supported by strategic partners including the Singapore Business Federation, Middle East Institute of Singapore, and Smart Cities Network, the conference will inspire discussions on a range of topics that are not only important in today’s economic and cultural landscape, they also hold particular significance for both the GCC and Singapore. Conference tracks include: film & digital arts, AI solutions in media and entertainment, digital trust, energy transition in the GCC, smart cities, sustainability & ESG, space economy and food security.

      “The Gulf Cooperation Council and Singapore share a rich history of economic collaboration, and there is still much opportunity to raise cross-cultural awareness and further unlock untapped mutual growth. We see Singapore as a gateway to APAC, facilitating the GCC’s diversification beyond oil & gas into other trade industries and opening doors for partnerships within the region. We are proud to debut the JISR Film Festival in Singapore, serving as a bridge to deepen understanding between both regions. By showcasing the diverse heritage of the GCC and creating a platform for meaningful dialogue, we aim to usher in a new era of collaboration and elevate GCC brand equity” said Dr. Dalal AlGhawas, Founder, SWAPAC.

      Film Studio Day Tour – Iskandar Malaysia Studios (28 March)

      As part of the JISR Film Festival, the public is invited to join an exclusive film studio day tour on March 28, organised in partnership with Iskandar Malaysia Studios (IMS). A premier destination for filmed entertainment production in Southeast Asia, IMS features state-of-the-art film stages, TV studios, and extensive production support facilities. The tour offers a unique opportunity for filmmakers, industry professionals, and enthusiasts to gain insights into the world of film production and explore potential partnerships between GCC and Asia Pacific regions. Registration is free via this link and limited slots are available.

ecoHarmony Fest – Ramadan Edition (till 9 April)

In addition to the film festival, business conference and film studio tour, JISR is also participating in the ecoHarmony Fest – Ramadan Edition, a 50-day festival featuring a bazaar with up to 300 retail and food stalls, accompanied by stage performances and a series of
talks on topics such as parenting, healthy living, entrepreneurship and more. With its spacious set-up accommodating up to 1,000 diners at any one time, visitors can enjoy the diverse offerings of the bazaar while experiencing elements of Arabian Gulf culture brought to life by JISR.

Don’t miss this groundbreaking festival event that seamlessly blends culture and business, providing a unique platform for exchange and collaboration between the GCC and Singapore.