Spain confers Order of Civil Merit on DIFF’s Artistic Director
Dec 19,2010 - 06:24 PM
His Excellency Gonzalo de Benito, the Spanish ambassador to the UAE, yesterday honoured DIFF by awarding the Order of Civil Merit to the Festival’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali on behalf of King Juan Carlos. The accolade honours those who have enhanced Spain’s presence in the world.
De Benito cited Al Ali’s longstanding commitment to showcasing Spanish and Spanish-language cinema at the Festival as well as DIFF’s new collaboration with the San Sebastian Film Festival. He also praised Al Ali as ‘a man of art’ in his own right.
‘I’m a shy person so I don’t know how to express myself,’ Al Ali said after the green-ribboned medal was pinned to his dishdasha. ‘But this is a great thing. It’s an honour for His Majesty to give this award to the UAE. I don’t consider it’s for me.’ He added: ‘Culture is a form of dialogue where people come together and understand each other and love each other. To be honoured in this field is the maximum.’ He also thanked his family, DIFF’s chairman Abdulhamid Juma and the Festival’s programmers, noting the ability of cultural enterprise ‘to change society from the foundation, not from above’.
De Bonito praised Dubai as ‘a great city of culture’ and Dubai and the UAE in general as ‘rising stars on the international scene. Culture is essential share thoughts, to get closer. In the time we’re living in, we need to get closer.’ Echoing remarks of Al Ali’s, he added: ‘We are proud of more than 800 years of history with the Arab and Muslim world.’ And, hailing DIFF as ‘one of the great [film] festivals worldwide,’ he said he ‘came here to say thank you for all the support’ it has shown Spanish cinema since its inception.
By Ben Walters