The eagerly-awaited groundbreaking ON.DXB will shine a spotlight on global and regional film, game, video and music talent as the three-day festival kicks off in Dubai tomorrow. The event will take place at Dubai Studio City’s Sound Stages.
An initiative of Dubai Media City in cooperation with the Dubai Film and TV Commission, the inaugural edition aims to stimulate business development and partnership building within the wider industry ecosystem and enhance Dubai’s status as a global and regional capital for major companies and talent.
ON.DXB’s huge weekend schedule of concerts, keynote talks, live pitches, industry workshops and panel discussions will be led by international celebrities, experts and brands, including headline stars such as legendary filmmaker Spike Lee; internationally-acclaimed Grime artist and actor Kano; actor, producer and YouTube sensation Liza Koshy; and regional gaming icon Rayan Al Ahmari.
The superstar quartet of the film, game and music sectors are just the tip of the talent iceberg, with a number of different stages in two core zones - the Industry Arena and a consumer-centric The Festival Square – due to host dozens of industry veterans, pioneers and next-generation innovators.
“The stage is set for an exciting new festival in Dubai’s world-class events line-up,” said Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City. “With its focus on talent incubation and fostering growth in the film, game, video and music sectors, ON.DXB will serve as a platform for regional talent to tap into the leading minds, global stars, trend-setter and thought-leaders.”
Jamal Al Sharif, CEO of Dubai Film & TV Commission, added: “Our diverse schedule is designed to open doors for increased talent and business development across the region’s growing creative scene. While Dubai’s world-class business and physical infrastructure has been leveraged to attract the film industry to our shores in the past, the multi-industry focus of ON.DXB will play a key role in the emirate extending this reach amid the ongoing convergence of these complimentary sectors.”
Opening day highlights
The opening day of ON.DXB (Thursday, 21 November - 11am) will feature a special rendition of the UAE national anthem by the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra, who will return to the Mainstage in The Festival Square to celebrate 25 years of excellence at 5pm.
Arguably the biggest YouTube star to cross-over into mainstream TV and film fame in the last half-decade, Koshy will deliver a digital content keynote touching on how she maintains an ever-growing captive audience of 25 million subscribers on Thursday at 5.15pm.
Spike Lee sessions
On Saturday, 23 November, film legend Lee will discuss the power of media at 5.15pm on the Circle Stage in the Industry Arena, before charting his 30-year career journey - from heralded indie hits Do The Right Thing, She’s Gotta Have It, Jungle Fever to mainstream blockbusters Malcolm X, Summer of Sam and Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman - during ‘An Audience with Spike Lee’ at ON_CIMENA, a dedicated film theatre in Festival Square at 7pm.
On the gaming side, Rayan Al Ahmari, the Saudi-based gamer and one of the most watched YouTubers in the Arab World, will discuss how he has built a captive YouTube audience of 6.7 million subscribers (Saturday 3pm).
A grand musical finale
ON.DXB will close with a landmark performance by the UK's 'King of Grime', Kano. The multi-award-winning rapper and music pioneer, who recently sold out the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, will be supported by UAE-based Somali rapper FREEK on Saturday at 10pm.
Regional talent to shine
Other special guests include Emirati filmmaker Mustafa Abbas, who directed the critically acclaimed Sunset State - screened at Cannes (Thursday 3pm) - and Afnan Al Qassimi, the screenwriter of Boxing Girls (Friday, 11.30am). Elsewhere, Noor Stars, the top subscribed YouTube creator in the Arab world (Thursday 1.30pm, Saturday 3pm), beauty guru Manal Muffin (Saturday 12pm) and Saudi-based influencer Dyler TV (Saturday 3pm) will also feature in a packed schedule of industry panels with major industry leaders in film, game, video and music.
Other musical performance through the weekend include a DJ set from Basil Al Hadi, the songwriter and lead singer of Arabic reggae project Karrouhat, and ‘Anghami Presents’, a three-hour showcase of the best emerging regional music talent on Friday at 7pm.
By harnessing some of the world's brightest creative talent, ON.DXB aims to stimulate business development and partnership-building within the wider ecosystem and enhance Dubai’s status as a global and regional capital for major companies and talent in the film, game, video and music sectors.