DIFF Director Visits Cairo Festival in Show of Support for Oldest Arab Cine Event

Wed Dec 07,2005

Dubai, December 7, 2005 – In a show of solidarity between the major Arab film festivals in the region, Dubai International Film Festival Director and CEO Neil Stephenson participated in the opening of the 29th Cairo Film Festival earlier this week to reinforce ties between the two festivals. Stephenson was among the high-profile guests invited to the opening of the Cairo Festival on November 29, marking the DIFF director’s first visit to the 1976-born event. The two-day expression of bilateral camaraderie laid to rest all earlier rumors of discord raised in DIFF’s inaugural year following overlapping scheduling between the four major Arab film festivals in Cairo, Damascus, Dubai and Marrakech. “I am delighted to be visiting the Cairo Film Festival for the first time, and to be cementing our ties with our brethren in the Arab filmmaking community,” Stephenson told media representatives in Egypt. “The Cairo Festival reflects the strength and diversity of Arab cinema, and is a beacon for the region, and an inspiration to all of us who aspire to build bridges between the Arab community and the rest of the world.” Last week’s visit also marked the fruition of talks begun on the heels of DIFF 2004 to unite the four festivals and maximize their audience participation. The dates for DIFF 2005, for example, were only confirmed in May after a series of high-level discussions between the organizers of the four festivals to enhance synergies between the cinema-themed events. The multilateral consultations, begun on the initiative of the Dubai Film Festival, resulted in new and non-clashing dates for all four festivals. The regional festival calendar for 2005, for example, starts with the Marrakech Film Festival from November 11 to 19, the Damascus Film Festival from November 20 to 27, and the Cairo Film Festival from November 29 to December 9 and ends with the Dubai Film Festival from December 11 to 17. “We at the Dubai International Film Festival have always been eager to promote greater interaction and cooperation between the Arab film festivals, so that the voice of Arab cinema is heard clearly and confidently in the international film industry,” Stephenson added. “I am very grateful to Cherif El Shoubashy, my counterpart at the Cairo Film Festival, and to the leaders of the Damascus and Marrakech Festivals for their cooperation and efforts to coordinate our events.” The Cairo Film Festival, the first such festival in the Middle East, has long been a powerhouse of Arab film production in the region and a successful corollary to the nation’s status as an incubator for Arab literature and the arts. Over the years, the festival has drawn top names from the regional and international film industry and boosted the reputation of many Arab stars. The second Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 11 and 17, 2005, and will feature 98 films including features, retrospectives and short films. DIFF 2005 is divided into 12 distinct programs - including five brand new sections - each focusing on a particular category of film. Tickets to DIFF 2005 are priced at Dhs. 50 for gala screenings and Dh. 20 for regular screenings. A special ‘Six Tix’ deal offers six tickets for the price of five. Screenings at the Dubai Media City open-air amphitheatre are free. All tickets are available at Festival Box Offices in the Madinat Theatre at Souq Madinat Jumeirah, in the lobby of Building 2 at Dubai Media City, and at CineStar Cinemas at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre. Tickets, and an entire schedule of the Festival films, are also available through the Dubai Film Festival website The Festival is presented by its Founding Sponsors Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Properties, Emirates, Etisalat and the Madinat Jumeirah – the Arabian Resort. The Festival’s Gold Sponsors are Bin Hendi Avenue, The Kanoo Group, National Bank of Dubai, Showtime and The Palm Jumeirah; the Silver Sponsors are Filmworks, Motivate Publishing and Sony.

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