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ARAB STARS BRING THE BEST FILMS OF 2007 TO DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Thu Nov 29,2007

Dubai, November 29, 2007: True to its mandate to promote and nurture Arabic cinema, DIFF will welcome Arab stars from all over the Middle East and beyond at its fourth edition, to take place December 9 to 16.

The glittering Gala night of the Arabian Nights programming section will see Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch (Ali Zaoua, 2000; Mektoub, 1997) will be present at the World Premiere of Whatever Lola Wants. Star Carmen Lebbos (West Beyrouth, 1998) stars in two films in the festival, appearing also in the Muhr Competition feature Falling From Earth, by director Chadi Zeineddine. England-based Jordanian star Nadim Sawalha also stars in Whatever Lola Wants, and in the first Jordanian feature film in 30 years, Muhr Competitor Captain Abu Raed, which he will be at DIFF to promote with the film’s director Amin Matalqa.

Veteran director Mohammed Khan, whose Fi shaket Masr el Gedeeda (In the Heliopolis Flat) has been chosen to represent Egypt at the 2008 Academy Awards, will attend DIFF with the film’s young stars Khaled Abol Naga and Ghada Adel.

Continuing the trend of Egyptian film royalty, the festival will bestow the veteran Youssef Chahine with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to cinema. While Chahine will not attend, his co-director Khaled Youssef and stars Khaled Saleh, Menna Shelabi and Hala Sedki will be present at the screening of his film Heya Fawda (Chaos) (2007). Producers Marianna Khoury and Gabriel Khoury will also be on hand. Additionally, screen stars Leila Aloui and Farouk Al-Fishawi will accompany Saad Hendawi’s film The Seventh Heaven, a visually stunning Muhr Awards competitor about two lovers overcoming their pasts.

Well-known UAE National actors Ibrahim Salem, Habib Ghuloom, Saeed Obaid and Ashjan (Umm Alawi from the Freej series) will accompany the film Tenbak, which deals with racism in Emirati society in the story of two life-long friends. The film is directed by Abdullah Hassan Ahmad.

From North Africa, Nouri Bouzid, who received the prestigious Ibn Khaldun award this year, will bring his award-winning Akhir Film (Making Of). Lead actor Lotfi Abdelli has won considerable acclaim for his role as an actor in film within a film. French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche will bring his La Graine et le Mulet (the Secret of the Grain), which won three awards at the Venice Film Festival, including the Fipresci Best Film Award. Actress Hafisa Herzi will accompany him. Acclaimed Moroccan director Ahmed el Maanouni, whose 1981 film Transes was remastered by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation and presented at Cannes this year, brings Al Koloub al Mouhtariqua (Burned Hearts). Algerian director Amor Hakkar will screen his La Maison Jaune (the Yellow House), which won several prizes at the Locarno Film Festival, and producer Salem Ibrahimi will bring Cartouches Gauloises (Summer of ‘62).

The Lebanese presence is also strong at DIFF. Borhane Alaouié, who has not worked in fiction narrative since the 1990’s, will accompany his comeback film Khalass, a rich exploration of four characters struggling with post-civil war life in Beirut. Prolific Palestinian documentarian Mai Masri brings another look at the effects of conflict on Lebanese society with 33 Youm (33 Days), which chronicles the lives of four young people in the ceasefire after the 2006 attacks on Lebanon.

Conflict is also examined in www.gilgamesh.21; the film documents long-distance chats between director Tariq Hashim, living in Denmark, and a young man in Baghdad. Both are exiles-Tariq from the country of his birth, and his counterpart from the city that he calls the ‘City of Death.’

The conflict between good and evil is apparent in Kharej Altaghtya (Out of Coverage), a film by Syrian director Abdellatif Abdelhamid about a man who devotes all of his time to his jailed friend’s wife and daughter. Stars Fayez Kazak and Fadwa Suleiman will accompany him.

Two Arab actors who have won success in Hollywood will accompany AmericanEast, a story of an Arab American and his Jewish best friend, played by Sayed Badreya (Three Kings, 1999) and Tony Shalhoub (Men in Black series), who set up a restaurant in Los Angeles post September 11th. Co-star Kais Nashif (Paradise Now, 2005), will also accompany the film.

The fourth edition of DIFF will run from December 9 to 16, 2007. Principal Sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates and Jumeirah.

-ends-

About DIFF:

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) was launched in December 2004 under the theme: Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds.

DIFF is held under the honorary Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. DIFF is a not-for-profit cultural event, presented and organised by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority.

As the previous editions of DIFF have demonstrated, the Festival not only presents cinematic excellence from around the world, but is also an important high-profile platform for aspiring home-grown talent.

“Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds,” has been hailed by all as a unique and relevant theme to promote better understanding and mutual respect between different communities and countries.

Since its inception, DIFF has become an important meeting point for international and regional filmmakers and industry professionals setting the foundation for potential future collaborations.

The past three editions of DIFF have presented more than 250 films, documentaries and shorts from more than 48 countries.

DIFF 2006

In 2006 the festival took place at the magnificent Madinat Jumeirah resort. As a further commitment of DIFF’s endeavours to facilitate greater opportunities for regional Arab talent, the Muhr Awards was launched. Another first for DIFF in 2006 was the setting up of the Industry Office, which was established with a view to exclusively assist the needs of all registered delegates.

DIFF 2007

The fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will take place from December 9-16 and will present the best of Arab and international cinema in the feature film, shorts and documentary formats. Building on the success of last year, DIFF 2007 will also host the Muhr Awards and the Industry Office with new features.

For any further information and regular updates on DIFF 2007 please log on to www.dubaifilmfest.com

For further information, please contact:

Majid Wasi

Senior Account Manager

Jiwin

Tel:  +9714 361 3333

Fax: +9714 368 8001

Email: majid.wasi@jiwin.ae

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