30 April, 2007

DIFF and press freedom

Courtesy of anonymous for this article...

"Breaking his silence on whether he'd jumped or been pushed, former Dubai Film Festival chief Neil Stephenson held a tumultuous press conference in Cairo saying he was forced out.
Claiming that he could not get fair press in Dubai, he spoke on Tuesday to Egypt media, some of whom hotly challenged his statements when he said he was fired in February.

Stephenson, who said he'd declined three months' severance pay, has hired lawyers to ensure his "efforts over the past five years to create DIFF are given due and fair credit."
-- more HERE


Anonymous said...

I guess they didnt pay him well

WearetheMovies said...

Here's an interesting factoid: Al Jabbermouth asked for a full-page feature in Emirates Today and got it. He insisted that his picture and quote-string headline the piece, and received it. Given how important (relatively speaking) DIFF has become, Stephenson’s oust was inevitable. Although he has every right to be bitter -- and his contribution in building this art project from the ground up, from another government-sponsored promotional tactic to something of real socio-cultural significance, is indeed commendable -- we have to be understand that Stephenson’s reason for going public has more to do with squaring financial equations than idealism or love for the Middle East region. For the rest of us, this serves as yet another reality check.

Anonymous said...

Having spoken to Mr S many times, I do believe he does have a genuine fear that it will be turned into some commercial pseudo Hollywood DSF-lite style tourist attraction.

I also don't think him battling to get richly deserved credit as the brains behind the success of DIFF is asking too much.

secretdubai said...

Expats are naive if they expect to come here, set up successful projects (particularly Dubai-branded ones) and not be replaced by a local eventually. This shouldn't be the case, but it always has been and always will be.

A wise expat comes over, sets things up, then hands over and takes a fat consulting fee for the next decade to remain "associated" with the project. And by the time that fat fee dries up, there should be other fat fees trickling in to offshore accounts from other similar projects.

But don't expect to come here and retain high-profile, public ownership of something that an emirati is obviously going to want. Because that's not how things work here. And yeah it sucks, but we all know that. You take your oily dollars and you button your lip.

WearetheMovies said...

The young DIFF could do without the bad rep in the West or ME region.

By going public, not only has Stephenson given proof that he has two of ‘em, he has, unexpectedly, played his card: held a press conference in Cairo whose film festival committee finally got their chance to settle scores with Dubai’s mega-budgeted carnival that stole their thunder; they have yielded a mike and podium to DIFF’s fallen hero, for as long as necessary. Stephenson’s connections with the Toronto fest and Western media got him the press mileage there...all in all, inflicting Al Jabbermouth a rather painful equivalent of a Seymore Butts-style double fisting!

Considering Stephenson has also warned him that he "plan(s) to speak about DIFF at various festivals in the coming months," I suspect large dirham bills will change hands.

a said...

I'd love to be cryptic but this is villification for all those journos in the UAE who received this press release a long long time ago...go Egypt!

a said...

sorry I meant catharthis for em journos...using big words when you're not sure what they mean was a valuable lesson I have yet to learn

Anonymous said...

SD u are talking as if he was the one who made it. He was an employee not an owner.

Really Fed UP said...

"not how things work here."That is total rubbish, it works like that EVERYWHERE. maybe the fact you are not an expat in your home country makes you blind to this.

Sheikha M. said...

Guys, Mr. S did not originate the film festival, another person did and he took it from him. And this person was never paid for the work hr did...Mr. S is not Snow White either. Payback as they say...is a bitch.

To think he can sue, for what? He did a job, he had a contract, hallas!

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