International Tourism Film Festival Maldives branded a success
Encouraged by the success of ‘Following the Equator,’ tourism magnate Ahmed Siyam Mohamed plans to make the film festival an annual event.
The recently concluded International Tourism Film Festival Maldives (ITFFM) was the first of its kind to take place in the country.
“The organisers of the international tourism film festivals as well as the international journalists and celebrities who attended the event are very happy with the event, and have remarked that the Maldives is a great location to host such festivals,” said Siyam, Festival President and Chairman of the Sun Siyam Group.
“The event was more than just a film festival. As we have received more than 200 videos from different countries, it is also an opportunity to learn about different cultures, and the changing trends in the tourism industry.”
The award-winning Sun Siyam Iru Fushi resort hosted the three-day event from 10 – 12 July.
Celebrities in attendance included German television and voice actor Raul Richter, British TV/radio presenter and model, Lizzie Cundy, Chinese actress and singer, Yang Ziyan, and Iraqi social media queen, Mina Wattan Ramadhan Raheem.
The Maldivian film industry was represented by popular actors Mohamed Jummiyal Nimal and Aishath Rishmy Rameez and director Abdul Fathaah Abdul Gayoom.
The winners were announced at a closing ceremony gala on the resort’s Islander’s Grill beach.
The big winner of the night was Turkish director Daghan Celayir, who won the Grand Prix for ‘Home of Turquoise,’ a film commissioned by Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The winner of the Facebook competition launched earlier this year as part of ‘Following the Equator’ was also announced. Mr Skero from Montenegro received a 5-night all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi resort for his video, ‘Don’t let this be your destiny.’
According to Alexander V Kammel, festival judge and director of CIFFT (Comité International des Festivals du Film Touristique), the submissions were judged based on originality, artistic quality, aesthetics, picture quality, as well as editing work.
“On the other hand, you should know what the target audience is because, for example, a film that sounds boring compared to others may be perfect for your target audience. And that’s what the whole thing is about; you have to know what the target group is. So we have to consider that as well,” he said.
“You want to tell the consumer ‘here we offer the experience of a lifetime, you’ll be treated like royalty, you can do whatever you want,’ and the viewer will say I want to go there. Someone might find it boring, but you reach your target audience.”
Irinia Arkhipo – one of the judges and the founder and CEO of an international tourism film festival called Golden Peak – also stressed the importance of the film industry for tourism development, citing the well-documented boost for New Zealand and UK tourism from the The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies, respectively.
The evening concluded with live music by popular local band, Limestone.
As tourism accounts for 30 per cent of the Maldives’ GDP, Siyam observed that the festival offered “a great opportunity to promote Maldives’ tourism.”
He added: “I am very happy about the event. As this festival was held here in the Maldives, it provides an advantage to promote the country. This is a great opportunity to promote tourism not just for Maldives but all the countries in the world.”
List of winners
Category – Animation
Director – Jose Manuel Garcia Alvarez
Asociacion Casa de Rusia a Catalunya
Category – Clip
The Path to Autumn
Director – Vitaliy Shmatchenko
Category – Tourism
Norte Region of Portugal – a Unique Region
Director – José Lemos
CCDR-N/Farol de Ideias
Producer: Agnieszka Pajak
Director: Georg van der Weyden
Back to your own time – Holidays in Austria
Director – Johannes Grebert
Austrian National Tourist Office
Category – Clip
One Wheel Cappadocia
Director – Sergey Gudzlovenko
Category – Pilgrimage
Director – Yangirova Anastasia Valeryevna
Heraklion – Where the Thread of History Begins
Directors – Indigo View
Category – Environmental
Director – Serghey Shutyi
Category – Sports
Home of Turquoise
Director: Daghan Celayir,
Ministry of Culture and Tourism Turkey
Category – Unique Tourist Site
Color Your Christmas with Zagreb
Producer: Marko Vrdoljak
Category – Cognitive
Dubrovnik and Time
Director: Hervé Tirmarche
Dubrovnik Tourist Board
Category – Ethnographic
Danube In Serbia
Directors : Srdjan Stankovic , Aleksandar Simic
Category – Unique Tourist Site
St. Petersburg Tourist Information Bureau