CULTURAL BRIDGE PROGRAMMING ANNOUNCED
Sun Nov 18,2007
Dubai, November 18, 2007: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced the line-up for its signature programming segment The Cultural Bridge. This selection of films is specially chosen to speak to the festival’s motto, ‘Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds,’ which encompasses the themes of cultural inclusiveness, peace and the celebration of diversity. The gala film of the series will be The Edge of Heaven, from director Fatih Akin, which won Best Screenplay Award at Cannes 2007.
Acclaimed as one of the major new talents in world cinema, Turkish-German director Akin has created a richly layered and humane film that moves between Germany and Turkey, depicting two families torn between countries and generations. Searching for a lost daughter and a lost mother, two members of the younger generation find themselves displaced and in often dangerous circumstances as they search for love and a sense of home.
Cultural Bridge Programmer Hannah Fisher explained the choice of The Edge of Heaven as Gala for the iconic segment: \”The Edge of Heaven deals with lives that are typical of our global world, caught up in extremes of displacement and loss. The story lifts them from those extremes with the transcendence that comes from love and acceptance\”
Simon Field, Artistic Director of International Programming, added: \“This year the Cultural Bridge segment incorporates films from all corners of the world, from both famous directors and new names in cinema. It includes some of the best films of the year and ones that characteristically explore the urgent issues of our time, optimistically celebrating the bridges people can make across national and cultural divides.\”
Two films in the program present the dissolution of boundaries and nationalities found within the universally understood language of music. Nomadak TX is the story of two Basque musicians who travel with their txalaparta, a unique percussion instrument, through India, Lapland, the Sahara and Mongolia. Along the way, they play and blend their music with the music of remote nomadic peoples, creating a ‘musical heartbeat of the planet.’ Where the Road Bends: Tales of a Gypsy Caravan follows five different Roma (gypsy) music groups as they travel through North America on a tour. Drawing on influences such as Scorsese’s seminal documentary, The Last Waltz, Where the Road Bends celebrates the vibrancy and eternal optimism of the Roma people, whose irrepressible spirit shines through their music.
The films selected for the Cultural Bridge program reinforce the basic philosophy of cultural and emotional bridges - those that work and those that are beyond repair. In It’s a Free World by Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, DIFF 2006) issues of displacement, both physical and cultural, are brought forward. The film is the story of a single mother who sets up a London-based recruitment agency for illegal migrant workers. The bottom line quickly takes over as she becomes blind to their basic humanity. It’s A Free World won Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival 2007. Unfinished Sky - part love story, part thriller, part social commentary - paints an uncompromising picture of illegal immigration in Australia. Tahmeena, an Afghan refugee, stumbles onto an isolated farm and slowly develops a friendship with the gruff, reclusive owner. However, she lives in constant fear that the men who \“bought\” her will return to claim their ‘property.’
Acclaimed Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s French-language debut Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (Flight of the Red Balloon) incorporates Chinese Puppetry and French Surrealist influences in the story of a charming single mother (Juliette Binoche) whose Taiwanese nanny gently cares for her and her young son. From Wayne Wang, (Maid in Manhattan, 2002), comes A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers, about a Chinese widower who travels to America to help his daughter rebuild her life. He finds instead a friend and ally in Madame, an Iranian immigrant. Dans La Vie (Two Ladies) is an ode to Arab-Jewish relations in the friendship between a wheelchair-bound Jewish woman and her Arab nurse. Within a feminine universe, the two women laugh, cry, and relate to one another, despite political differences. Am Ende Kommen Touristen (And Along Come Tourists) presents the story of a sensitive young German man who in becoming the caregiver for a former Auschwitz inmate learns to acknowledge and care for the stubborn old man, while acknowledging the past.
The Cultural Bridge program includes a headliner event, known as the Cultural Bridge Panel, a forum created for the active debate and discussion of those principles upon which the entire program is based. At DIFF 2006, actor/activist Richard Gere and director Oliver Stone were among the panel participants, in an event moderated by Riz Khan of Al Jazeera. Details of the 2007 Cultural Bridge Panel will be released shortly.
DIFF 2007 will run from December 9 to 16, and is presented by Emirates, Dubai Duty Free, Jumeirah and Dubai Pearl as Principal Sponsors.
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.
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.
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
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