7th DIFF unveils 157 films from 57 nations, with outstanding Arab programming at its core

Tue Nov 23,2010

The seventh edition of the Dubai International Film Festival today confirmed its credentials as the leading festival of the Arab world, Africa and Asia, unveiling a line-up of 157 films from 57 countries including an outstanding array of contemporary Arab cinema, a robust competition segment, a film market growing from strength to strength and enhanced access for the public.

Among its roster of films from South America to Taiwan and Sweden to South Africa, the December 12 to 19 Festival features 41 world premieres – a 30 per cent growth from last year - 13 international premieres, 58 Middle East premieres and 32 Gulf premieres, and a host of A-list talent. Nearly half the DIFF 2010 films – 70 – are by or about Arab people, subjects and places.

Heading this year’s celebrity line-up are celebrated actor, director and activist Sean Penn, who will receive the DIFF 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award; Colin Firth, who will accompany opening film The King’s Speech; Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess and Peter Weir, in Dubai for the red carpet gala screening of The Way Back; Beau Garrett, for closing gala Tron: Legacy; and Andrey Konchalovsky and Julia Vysotskaya of the Cinema for Children gala The Nutcracker in 3D.

Other red carpet events include the Arabian gala screening of 678, one of the most anticipated films from Egyptian cinema; the controversial Egyptian love story Cairo Exit from the DIFF Cultural Bridge segment; the Polish film Tomorrow Will Be Better from the festival’s Cinema of the World programme; Emirati short The Philosopher from its Muhr competition; and Chinese martial arts extravaganza Reign of Assassins from the Festival’s Cinema of AsiaAfrica slate. French A-list actor Jean Reno, Carey Mulligan, Africa’s Souleymane Cisse and Arab stars Khaled Abol Naga, Bushra, Nelly Karim, Saba Mubarak, Ayman Zeidan, Samar Sami and Raghda are also among the international celebrities confirmed to attend.

Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of Dubai International Film Festival said: “The seventh edition of the Dubai International Film Festival film festival will be extra special not only for the powerful showcase of movies from around the world and impressive talent line-up of globally acclaimed actors and directors, but also for the largest selections of quality, contemporary Arab cinema anywhere in the world.

This is a compelling testament to the success of the Festival in building the definitive space for Arab talent, providing a platform for them to achieve their ambitions and also giving them the opportunity to stand tall alongside their international counterparts.”

The Festival’s standout Arab films, representing the length and breadth of the Arab world, are primarily distributed among its in-competition Muhr Arab and Muhr Emirati Awards segment and its out-of-competition Arabian Nights and Gulf Voices segments. Although the competitions will be judged by professional juries, all screenings are open to the public.

Underscoring the growing prestige of the Festival’s competition, DIFF’s in-competition Muhr Awards have scooped a record 848 entries, with the Muhr Arab segment drawing 62 feature films, 228 short films, and 113 documentary films. The Muhr AsiaAfrica competition, dedicated for filmmakers from Asia and Africa, similarly received 445 entries, encompassing 136 feature films, 199 short films, and 110 documentary films. The Festival’s new Muhr Emirati competition, introduced to further strengthen and recognize rising Emirati talent, received 25 feature films, short films, and documentaries.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director, said: “I believe that our programming this year not only offers something for everyone, it also offers new, very interesting, unusual and surprising films. If I could choose one word to describe our 2010 programme, it would be “discovery.” We have discoveries of new talents, new styles and new collaborations.

“I am proud of the fine crop of Arab cinema we have this year and the exceedingly talented UAE filmmakers included in our line-up, and I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who wants to better understand this country and our region experience it.”

Shivani Pandya, DIFF Managing Director, outlined the pioneering initiatives designed to improve the Festival’s community connections, including the popular The Walk at JBR as a new DIFF venue, a series of technological improvements, and more opportunities for the public to access the films, the talent and the spectrum of events associated with the city’s leading cultural event.

“Our seventh year, I’m happy to report, is undoubtedly our best yet, for two critical reasons: What we have managed to create for filmmakers through the Dubai Film Market, and what we have managed to create for the public. In both cases, 2010 marks a giant leap ahead for our Festival, and we are excited to bring our Festival much closer to our audiences,” she said.

The Walk at JBR venue will house the Festival’s Rhythm and Reels screenings and concerts as well as a series of family-friendly screenings. It will open on December 12 with a free tandem broadcast of the DIFF 2010 red carpet opening at the Madinat Jumeirah, and continue with a free screening of opening film The King’s Speech.

DIFF has also created a series of new box office packages to help filmgoers identify films of interest, including a new Midnight Mayhem series focused on thriller and horror films for fans. The DIFF Box Office opens tomorrow to the public. 

On the technological end of the spectrum, the new public-friendly features include a redesigned and fully interactive website, a free new mobile application that provides up-to-the-minute information on the Festival including schedules, news, and the ability to purchase tickets for screenings, and up-to-the-minute coverage of the Festival on YouTube, enabled by Zayed University.

The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

For more and updated information about DIFF, please visit

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