DIFF Meets Jim Sheridan

Wed Oct 30,2013

We’re delighted to announce that Jim Sheridan, the Irish filmmaking legend behind My Left Foot and In The Name of the Father, and six-time Oscar nominee, is heading up the jury for our Muhr Arab Feature competition. We caught up with the great man in Dublin.

Hi Jim. Congratulations on being named head of our narrative Jury. Have you been over to Dubai before?

I’ve never been to Dubai before. But I know that the Dubai Duty Free help do the horses races in Ireland and I used to be in that game a bit. I had a couple of horses and one was really famous: Vinnie Roe, the only horse in Europe to win the (Irish St.) Ledger four years in a row. People loved him. He also ran in the Prix de L’Arc in France and was in the parade ring with Sheikh Mohammed.

Have you seen much Arabic cinema?

Yes, I really like the Arab culture and I was fascinated from the time I saw Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movie Ali: Fear Eats The Soul in the 1970s. I think one of my favourite films ever made was Battle of Algiers, which I kind of used a bit in In the Name of the Father. So I’ve been very interested in Arab culture.

Any recent films that you’ve seen?

I really liked Wadjda, the new Saudi film. I also liked Five Broken Cameras, the Palestinian documentary. It’s good to get exposure to other culture and I think the danger in the world is that you just get movies from one place, which is Hollywood. You need to find other ways to get movies in front of people. I’m actually starting an Arab film festival in London, I hope next April. I got a promise from the Dublin Arab Chamber of Commerce and I’m talking to people in the government about it. I hope to get something from the arts council and I’ll also put a bit of money in myself.

Fantastic, who are you hoping to bring over for your Arab film festival in Dublin next year?

I’d like to bring Haifaa Al Mansour. Mad things, I’d like to see if I could get someone like Zinedine Zidane or Omar Sharif. I’m trying to limit it to what’s out that year.

And what are you hoping to see in Dubai this December?

I hope to see good human movies and warm emotional stories. I love a lot of the Palestinian movies and there’s always good movies out of Egypt if you can get them. Iran too, Kiarostami’s stuff is great. And the Turkish movies are very good too.

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