‘Following the Equator’ festival in Maldives celebrates best of global tourism films

Second edition of the International Tourism Film Festival Maldives (ITFFM) has wrapped up with a celebration of the best films and documentaries showcasing some of the most beautiful tourism destinations in the world.

Organised by Sun Siyam Resorts in association with the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals (CIFFT), the three-day festival took place at the award-winning The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives resort from September 6-8. Held under the theme, ‘Following the Equator’, the festival kicked off with a cocktail reception and live music at the beach, followed by a dinner. International film makers, celebrities and industry professionals in attendance witnessed the screening of several films submitted as part of the festival.

“This festival is all about bringing together people from different destinations to enjoy and appreciate the different tourism destinations around the world,” Sara Siyam, PR and Communications Executive at Sun Siyam Resorts and ITFFM Secretary General, said.

Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, the Chairman and Managing Director of Sun Siyam Resorts, attends the closing gala of ITFFM 2018. PHOTO/ FAYAZ MOOSA

The second night of the festival featured a special segment on fashion and lifestyle with the participation of local models and makeup artists. More entries were screened to the audience.

An eight-member jury evaluated the 200 plus entries received from around the world. ITFFM Founder Evgenia Boyankova, ITFFM General Secretary Sara Siyam, Managing Editor of Vibe Magazine Hussain Shiham, Sun Siyam Resorts’ Head of Marketing Fathimath Reena, RAFY NGO President Aishath Rafiyya, CIFFT Director Alexander V. Kammel, CIFFT General Secretary Hugo Marcos, and Director of FilmAT Festival Ewa Kotus judged the entries based on several parameters, including visual quality, sound quality, reaching the goals, informational value, outstanding approach and innovativeness.

“Before you start any project, you should understand your target audience. For example, a film that sounds boring to some may be perfect for your target audience. You have to make sure that elements familiar to your target audience are included in your film,” Alexander said, during an open forum held on the second day of the festival.

“Your objective should be to make the viewer say, ‘I want to go there’.”

The open forum held as part of ITFFM 2018. PHOTO/ FAYAZ MOOSA

After a rigorous judging process, the nominees and winners in each category were announced at a grand gala at the the magnificent beach of The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives resort. ‘Abu Dhabi – Your Extraordinary Story’ by Norman Bates won the coveted Grand Prix award as well as the Tourism Destination – Cities category. Other category winners include:

  • Dinner With Georgia: Tourism Destination – Countries
  • Fishing in Maldives: National Productions
  • Gastronomy of Valencia: Tourism Services
  • Hatta is Calling: Adventure Tourism
  • Cruises: Water/Ethnography
  • Dalmatia Ultra Trail: Environment & Eco-tourism
  • Love Summer: Hotels & Resorts
  • Spirit of Dubai: Cultural Tourism
  • The Route of Fate: Tourism Destination – Regions
Attendees at the closing gala of ITFFM 2018. PHOTO/ FAYAZ MOOSA

Just like the first edition in 2016, ITFFM 2018 brought together professionals, celebrities and guests from across the globe to share their passion for travelling and seeing the beauty of it, the love for art, tourism and sports.

This year’s edition witnessed celebrity figures including Chinese actors Dong Dong Xu and Terence Yin as well as British TV personality Lizzie Cundy. Social media influencers and travel bloggers from around the world along with Maldivian models and celebrities were also in attendance. The presence of top Chinese TV channel CCTV6 and well-known tourism journalists from France, Italy, Middle East and Russia, as well as the local travel media, which included Maldives Insider and Maldives TV made the festival more eventful.

Sun Siyam Resorts has a portfolio of boutique luxury resorts in the Maldives and neighbouring Sri Lanka: The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives, Olhuveli Beach and Spa Maldives, Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, and the Sun Aqua Pasikudah in Sri Lanka as well as the upcoming Sun Aqua Iru Veli in the Maldives.

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