News

DUBAI CATCHES FESTIVAL FEVER

Mon Dec 17,2007

Festival Centre Buzzes with Top Talent and the Best International Films of 2007

Dubai, December 12, 2007: The fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is in full swing, with both industry delegates and cinema lovers riding a wave of excitement following the last four days’ activities, and looking forward to another 4 days of discussion panels, workshops, three evenings of musical concerts and screenings of the best international cinema.

Opening Night set the tone for a week of festival fever. The evening of December 9 saw some of international cinema’s biggest names walk the red carpet at the Madinat Jumeirah: Sharon Stone, Leila Aloui, Kabir Bedi, Pooja Bedi, Pooja Batra, Mai Masri, and many more.

Of particular note for hundreds of onlookers gathered in the spectator pens was George Clooney, who also gave a sold-out one hour “In Conversation With” discussion at the Souk Theatre at the Madinat Jumeirah. He touched on his career and his thoughts on the situation in Darfur, and answered fans’ questions from the floor.

The star power carried over to December 10, when Sharon Stone chaired the Cinema Against AIDS Dubai fundraising auction for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS research. The glittering event, attended by Chinese actress Michelle Yeoh, Dita von Teese, Hayden Christensen of Star Wars fame, television star Rachel Bilson, and numerous dignitaries, raised USD 3 million for AIDS research.

Monday also saw Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan officially launch their documentary, 90 Millas (90 Miles). Actors Tony Shalhoub, Sayed Badreya, Anthony Azizi, Sarah Shahi and Kais Nashif (Paradise Now) opened their film AmericanEast, which depicts Arab-American life after September 11, 2001.

The DIFF schedule is staggering, with an average of 30 films screening per day, including a Gala each evening. The Gala for the evening of the 10th was the children’s film Bee Movie, starring the voice of Jerry Seinfeld. Children were feted on the red carpet, with a barbecue, puppet show, and clowns.

On December 11, the evening Gala was the World Premiere of What Lola Wants, a powerful story of the universal power of dance. Stars Laura Ramsey and Carmen Lebbos walked the red carpet with fellow cast members and director Nabil Ayoush.

On the industry side, the producer’s course that was organized in partnership with the EAVE (European Audio Visual Entrepreneurs) draws to a close today, and has seen practical panels and meeting with experts on subjects such as how to market a film in today’s volatile market and how to launch a first feature film. There was also a workshop on writing comedy featuring the popular Axis of Evil ensemble from the United States.

The next four days promise to be equally action-packed. On the 13, 14 and 15, a selection of DIFF films will be screened at the Grand Cineplex. The Rhythm n’ Reels screening series begins tomorrow, with a performance by Gloria Estefan following the screening of 90 Millas. December 14 will feature the documentary The White Thread followed by the group Bnet Marrakech, who sing traditional Moroccan songs paired with electronic dance beats. The night of the series will feature a screening of Across the Universe, a kaleidoscopic ode to the 1960’s, complimented by The Best of the British Invasions, a multimedia act that revisits some of the greatest moments in music history.

The Industry Office will begin a second initiative, the Dubai Film Connection, a project market that pairs Arab filmmakers and international funding bodies. Three projects will be selected to win an award of USD 15, 000 each, and will be flown to Cannes to participate in the prestigious Marche du Filme.

DIFF 2007 continues until December 16, 2007, when it will conclude with a special screening of The Kite Runner, in the presence of the author of the novel of the same name, Khaled Hosseini.

DIFF’s Principal Sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates and Jumeirah.

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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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