Dubai International Film Festival - website and venue

Now that I've posted my top 20 picks for this this year's Dubai Film Festival, this post is to rant about a couple of issues. I know the festival has not started yet, but I'm just curious to know if anyone else feels the same way.

The DIFF website

It's was painfully difficult to navigate the website to plan my schedule. The new calendar feature was not usable, it was quite difficult to get one proper overview per day. It's in Flash, too much scrolling and too many filter options which I don't think many would use. There is an option to "download a Microsoft Outlook ready file" ... erm, we don't all use Microsoft Outlook.

Looking at the current calendar, to then go to the Full Details page, to then add it in Favourite or in a My Calendar just isn't feasible. The site might be fine for people watching a couple of movies, but for people like yours truly that plan to watch a lot - allow us to download/export the entire schedule in chronological order into a Word document or Excel sheet so that we can create our own schedules by easily deleting the films we don't want to see. Just feels like a quicker solution compared to the fuss one has to go through on the website.

Screenshot of part of the timetable

If one prefers to go through the printed program guide instead of the website, then you know you have a problem. This is the 7th year of the festival and every year the site is different. Would be great if there's some consistency with the navigation, but more importantly, get the site usability right.

One more thing, the website lacks trailers. I managed to find trailers for most of the films listed in my top 20 films to watch at DIFF in my previous post. Watching a trailer really helps.

The venue - The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence

Call me a venue snob (and no offence to my friends that live there), but I was so disappointed when I found out that the Rhythms and Reels program will be screened at The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence. That part of 'new Dubai' is just not pleasant, busy in the evenings and on weekends, difficult to get to, full of cars driving up and down and people walking all around. It will be great for people that live there, but I know I won't make an effort to drive there to watch a film.

Don't know about you, but I do not want to watch a film surrounded by this.

The plan is to set up an open air cinema by the beach, but the area really lacks character. It is surrouned by high rise towers and it just breaks my heart that an open air cinema will be set up there. Would be great if DIFF can look at some other parts of town to create an impact, for instance, create an open air cinema in our parks. Here's one suggestion, there's an amphitheatre in Dubai Creek Park that is hardly used. Oh, how great it would be to set up a cinema there. Open air, by the creek and very charming. 

Anyone else out there feels the same?