Thirteen UAE Filmmakers to Compete for DIFF’s Renowned Muhr Emirati Awards
Tue Nov 15, 2016

An impressive lineup of films with a focus on the Arab world created by groundbreaking Emirati filmmakers

Dubai, 15 November 2016: UAE filmmakers will relish the opportunity to showcase their films at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) as part of the Muhr Emirati category. Thirteen films, including a selection of world premieres, will be competing at the 13th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival which runs from 7–14 December, 2016.

Since its inception in 2010, the Muhr Emirati category has been dedicated to supporting and providing a platform to expose the flourishing Emirati film industry. As the UAE film industry continues to produce exceptional filmmaking talent, this year sees a record high number of features accepted, a testament to the growing number of local gifted filmmakers, and the UAE as a stage on which a viable film industry is being built.

Ali F. Mostafa, the acclaimed director behind the regional box office hit ‘City of Life’ returns to this year’s Festival with the much-anticipated post-apocalyptic action thriller ‘The Worthy’, whose trailer was unveiled at last year’s Festival. An Image Nation production written by Vikram Weet and starring Mohammad Mustafa, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Samer Ismail and Ali Suliman the story illustrates the ultimate test of survival as a group of survivors seek refuge near a scarce water source in a dystopian world.

DIFF is delighted to welcome the return of renowned Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja with her world premiere ‘Animal’ featuring Mohammed Ahmed, Venetia Tiarks, Donya Asi, Abhijit Baruah. The film focuses on 7-year old child’s experiences of growing up in a home ruled with an iron fist by her ferocious and domineering father, whom is an “A+ sociopath and narcissist”. The dynamics of what plays out when her father is juxtaposed against his weakling, yet selfishly ambitious mother and their merry flamboyant cook makes one to wonder how she copes with living in the midst of such contradictions.

The world premiere of ‘Little Sparta’, directed by award winning writer and director Mansoor Alyabhouni Aldhaheri, journeys through different historical eras of the Middle Eastern region, documenting significant moments relating to the symbolic valour of the UAE armed forces and their integral role as peacekeeping mediators in an unstable region. A patriotic portrayal, ‘Little Sparta’ represents the prevalent eternal conflicts that exist between the forces of good and evil.

Award-winning director Abdulla Al Kaabi premieres his first feature length film as part of the Muhr Emirati category. ‘Only Men go to the Grave’ is a tale set at the end of the Iran-Iraq war about estranged daughters who seek to uncover their mother’s hidden secret after her sudden death. In the process they face peculiar encounters and unearth repressed family tensions.

Short-fiction film ‘The Choice’ directed by the gifted Eman Alsayed recounts a daughter’s tribulation as she must first reconcile her father’s mistakes after his death, before she is entitled to her inheritance.

In the world premiere of the short-fiction fantasy film ‘Mahal Bu Tair’, from director Sager L'Khrebani Al Nuaimi, the story will take DIFF audiences on a journey through the perspective of orphaned child Khalid, who was raised by his aunt. His life suddenly changes when he finds a pearl, which sets him up for a challenge with a mysterious merchant in the market.

Emirati filmmaker and actor Yaser Alneyadi presents the world premiere of his latest short film ‘Shrimp’ starring Khalid Alnuaimi, Sultan Alshamisi and Khalid Ali. The film is a compelling story that follows a group of people who are brought together under absurd circumstances and inexplicably compelled to express their darkest, most twisted desires.

Emirati director Aysha Alzaabi showcases the world premiere of her latest film ‘A Night in a Taxi’. The short non-fiction film documents the moving tale of a taxi driver in Abu Dhabi who works night shifts. He lends his ears to his troubled passengers, yet when the time comes, he sadly realizes there are few who are willing to listen to his story.

In the world premiere of the non-fiction feature ‘Honey Rain & Dust’ from director Nujoom Al Ghanem, which has been supported by the festivals Enjaaz programme, the story takes the viewer into a world of three honey specialists, Ghareeb, who is a beekeeper, and Aisha and Fatima who search for natural honey in mountainous territories. Involuntarily the bees become integral to the lives of the trio whose sustenance relies on the productivity of their bees. Award-winning director Nujoom Al Ghanem is a renowned filmmaker and was the recipient of Best Non-fiction Feature under the Muhr Features category in 2014 for ‘Nearby Sky’.

Joining the lineup is the world premiere of short non-fiction ‘Mamsous’ from director Shatha Masoud. DIFF’s audiences are invited to experience a compelling insight into three people’s shared experiences of living with clinical depression and panic attacks.

In the world premiere of ‘Kanadeer’ starring Abdulla Al Hemairi, Bader Zaman, Binod and Mohamed Yahya, Ali Bin Matar directs a compelling tale of a Saleem’s mysterious death. His brother Abdullah uncovers strange revelations related to Saleem’s life before his passing.

Award-winning filmmaker Ahmed Zain who found box office success with his comedy-horror Grandmothers Farm brings DIFF the world premiere of ‘Lisa’, a comedy drama which centres around Lisa, a media student from the United Kingdom who studies at the New York University in Abu Dhabi. As part of her senior project, Lisa films a documentary about an Emirati family, soon to discover and experience the generosity of Emirati culture through the kindness of the family.

Completing the lineup is world premiere ‘Waiting list’, a feature fiction directed by Emirati filmmakers Hani Al Shaibani and Khalid Ali, which tells the stories of five different people determined to turn their lives around.

DIFF’s artistic director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali comments on the Emirati Muhr programme: “The category works hard to reinforce that homegrown filmmakers are at the forefront of the Festival; which is committed to fostering and promoting Arab filmmaking in the region. By providing an international platform from which Emirati produced films can reach audiences locally and globally, the programme helps to support burgeoning and established Arabic talent, whilst also inspiring the next generation of regional filmmakers.”

The Muhr Emirati Competition will take place at the 13th annual Dubai International Film Festival, December 7 - 14, 2016, with the winners being announced on December 14.