Dubai Film Festival’s Feast of Short Films & Captures Many Faces of the Arab World

Wed Dec 08,2004

The 16 Arab short films screening during the Dubai International Film Festival are a kaleidoscope of Arab culture and Arab concerns, and no less effective for their brevity, Festival programmer Mohamed Maklouf said yesterday.

Maklouf, a UK-based filmmaker, film critic, international jury member and founder director of the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival, is widely regarded as one of the region’s experts on Arab short and documentary films.

“At the Dubai International Film Festival, people will get an opportunity to watch unique films that reflect Arab hopes and concerns,” he said of the 16 short films screening during the Festival. “These films will make them think, contemplate, laugh and even cry. Arab short and documentary films have unlimited dreams and horizons; even though they are brief, they are films with big ideas.”

Since the Arab short film and documentary industry is virtually unknown, he added, the directors of these films only tend to get exposure at international festivals such as the six-day one in Dubai.

Two of the short films – the Egyptian T for Terrorist and the Tunisian Sign of Belonging are being shown for the first time in the Arab world. The former is a multi-award winning comedy about Arab stereotypes in Hollywood, the latter a story of being torn between the Arab culture and the West.

Other popular shorts in the series include Lebanese comedy Van Express, Palestinian dramas Hopefully for the Best (Laalo Kheir) and Like 20 Impossibles. The second series of Arabian Shorts, including 16 Hours in Baghdad and Sign of Belonging will be screened at 10 pm tomorrow (Thursday, December 9) at the Jumeirah Beach Auditorium, and the third series which includes Hopefully for the Best, Tough Luck, BerlinBeirut and T for Terrorist, will screen at 10 pm on Friday at the Jumeirah Beach Auditorium. A special selection of UAE shorts will also be screened 5.30 pm tomorrow (Thursday) at the Madinat Theatre.

Five DIFF box offices are currently open for business: at the CNN Building Lobby in Dubai Media City from 11 am to 8 pm; at the Madinat Theatre in the Souk at Madinat Jumeirah from 11 am to 10.30 pm; at the Mercato mall from 10 am to 10.30 pm; at the Madinat Arena from 6 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, and from 11 am to 8 pm on Thursday and Friday; and at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Auditorium today from 11 am to 10.30 pm.

Prices range from Dh. 10 for the four open-air “Screen on the Green” films (Lawrence of Arabia, Gagamboy (Spiderman), Mr. India and Five Children And It) at the Dubai Media City amphitheater to Dh. 20 for regular screenings at DIFF main venues and Dh. 50 for the red-carpet gala screenings at the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort-Dubai. Two special offers – student discounts and a Five-Flick deal that offers a set of five regular screening tickets for the price of four – have also been created to make the Festival accessible to all UAE residents and visitors.

Telephone bookings and orders can be made with the Box Office on (04) 367 6701 / (04) 367 6707 for advance bookings and directions to box office venues.

The Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 6 and 11, 2004, and will feature approximately 75 films including features, retrospectives and short films. The Festival is divided into 10 distinct programs, each focusing on a particular Festival theme. DIFF is presented by Dubai Media City and its presenting sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Emirates, Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort-Dubai, and Nakheel.  DIFF Gold Sponsors are DOM International, The Kanoo Group and National Bank of Dubai, and Silver Sponsors are Arabian Radio Network, Atlas Telecom, Dubai Radio Network, E-Vision and Motivate Publishing.

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