ABU DHABI // Judges for the semifinals of the International Emmy Awards have more than 30 hours of television to watch inside three days - but they would be happy to see more TV programmes from the Arabic region. "We need more people from the industry over here to enter," said Nathaniel Brendel, director of judging. "The more programmes that get entered from the Middle East then the more likely it is that there will be a Middle Eastern winner."
Mr Brendel and 15 to 25 judges will watch entries from more than 70 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Although Mr Brendel would not say how many shows will be judged in Abu Dhabi, the group started yesterday and will finish tomorrow - three solid days from 9:30am to 7pm. The process is to whittle down all the entries from the region to a short list that will be judged in September, with the winners announced at a New York gala in November.
"As the media industry in the Middle East is constantly evolving it is very important that we are here," Mr Brendel said. "It will show the international world that Abu Dhabi and the rest of the Arabic region is very much present in this competition." Last year the Jordanian TV show Al Igtiyah, directed by Shawqi al Majiri and starring Abbas al Nouri and Saba Mubarak in a Palestinian love story, won the telenovela category. It was the first time any show from the region had won such an award.
Tarif Sayed, the owner and managing director of The Frame, the UAE production company hosting the judging session at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi, said he was keeping his fingers crossed for more Arab winners. There is no prize money for the International Emmys, but Mr Brendel said the awards were reward enough."You cannot put a figure on that kind of recognition," he said. "The Emmys are well-established and well-known American awards, judged by many professionals.
"If any production carries that award then it is almost guaranteed to attract attention." firstname.lastname@example.org