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Dubai International Film Festival takes Arab films to France

Fri May 18,2012

Emirati short Sabeel, UAE-funded Habibi open 7th Panorama festival in Paris

Dubai, May 18, 2012 – Award-winning Emirati short film Sabeel and multi-award winning Palestinian feature film Habibi Rasak Kharaban (Darling, There’s Something Wrong with Your Head) opened the 7th Panorama Des Cinemas du Maghreb et du Moyen Orient (Panorama of Cinema from the Maghreb and Middle East) in Paris last week, kicking off the French festival’s first foray into the broader Arab world.

The films, accompanied by directors Khalid Al Mahmood and Susan Youssef, were presented by the Dubai International Film Festival in the latest collaboration between the two festivals. Youssef’s film, which scooped multiple Muhr awards at DIFF 2011, was also funded by the Festival’s Enjaaz post-production support programme.

The two films were among several DIFF films to be selected for the prestigious Paris-wide showcase: others include Tunisian director Mourad Ben Cheikh’s No More Fear, a Muhr prize winner at DIFF 2011; Egyptian drama 678, directed by Mohammed Diab, a Muhr prize winner at DIFF 2010; Roy Arida’s Lebanon-based Ba’adana, which debuted at DIFF 2011; Romeo Eleven (Romeo Onze) directed by Canada’s Ivan Grbovic from DIFF 2011, and Moroccan-born director Ismael Ferroukhi’s Le Grand Voyage, which opened the Dubai festival’s inaugural edition in 2004.

The 2012 edition of the Panorama festival marks the first time the showcase is expanding to include films from Arab territories beyond the Maghreb. Festival films, which will screen at multiple venues across the French capital until May 15, include entries from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon and the UAE.

The 7th Panorama also includes a spotlight on Algeria, marking the nation’s 50th year since independence with a selection of films about the Algerian war; tributes to Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako and Egyptian auteur Youssef Chahine; and panels, discussion forums and special events.

DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the festival is delighted to continue its partnership with Panorama, and play a role in bringing Gulf and broader Arab cinema to French audiences.

“We are delighted to play a role in taking Gulf and Arab films beyond our borders, and we are confident that this latest move by Panorama will benefit filmmakers, audiences and the larger film industry,” he said. “This is one of many relationships begun during DIFF that bear fruit year-round and around the world, and we are honored to once again be the centre of discovery of Arab film for global institutions.”

The ninth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will be held from December 9 to 16, 2012. Submissions to the festival’s in-competition and out-of-competition segments will open later this month.

The Investment Corporation of Dubai is the title sponsor of the Dubai International Film Festival. The eighth edition of DIFF is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, home to the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

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