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Films on regional conflict, inspiring tales of individuals today at 4th Gulf Film Festival

Sun Apr 17,2011

Dubai, UAE; April 17, 2011: The fourth edition of the Gulf Film Festival, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), is showcasing an eclectic collection of films that document the extremes in human life – hope and despair; strife and peace; fact and fantasy – and everything in between, today (Monday, April 18, 2011).

Two features films from Iraq – both in competition for the top honours at the festival – are being screened today: The Quarter of Scarecrows, directed by Hassan Ali Mahmood (Grand Cinema 8, 9.30 pm) and The Flowers of Kirkuk by Fariborz Kamkari (Grand Cinema 9, 3.30 pm).

While The Quarter of Scarecrows examines the impact of political decisions as dictatorships and war turns human beings into scarecrows – distinctly echoing the current context of unrest – The Flowers of Kirkuk, is a romance, set in the 1980s, depicting the trials and tribulations of a young doctor, who must choose between the traditions of her family and her personal ideals.

An inspiring tale of hope and achievement, set against debilitating odds, is the theme of Sun Dress, an Emirati film screened in the Lights segment (Grand Cinema 5, 9 pm). Scripted and directed by Saeed Salmeen Al-Murry, the film is about a lady with hearing disability, and how she achieves her dreams through a series of dramatic events.

Intersections, GFF’s special focus on some of the finest contemporary productions from around the world, today screens (Grand Cinema 8, 3 pm) films from France, UAE, Lebanon, India, Bangladesh and Spain. The Lebanese entry, The Cocoon, directed by Omar Moujaes and Sara Nasr narrates the story of a young woman struggling to find her identity in the world, and how she breaks free from her past; while the selection from Bangladesh, 720 Degrees, is an experimental movie cum video art with a sense of mystery. Directed by Ishtiaque Zico, the film is a single take journey undertaken to discover the various layers of a relationship, and our own perceptions of reality.

In the International Shorts competition (screening at Grand Cinema 10, 3 pm) today watch short-listed entries from India, Greece, Iran and France. The films are as varied as they get with the selection from Greece, Casus Belli, an experimental short directed by Yorgos Zois, that explores as mundane an aspect of living as queues. There are seven queues with numerous people, and in an unending cycle of sorts, the first person in each queue becomes the last in the next one.

The screenings today also include Gulf Competition – Documentary (Grand Cinema 9, 9.45 pm) screening three UAE films –  Life of Stone directed by Moath Bin Hafez; Foresight by Ahmed Zain and Naser Al Yaqoobi; and Hamama by Nujoom Alghanem.

GFF 2011 will be held at the InterContinental Hotel, Crowne Plaza and Grand Cinemas at Dubai Festival City. The Festival includes a Gulf competition, student competition, out-of-competition segments including children’s cinema, and other special events. All the 153 films from 31 nations screened at GFF 2011 until April 20 are free for entry for the public.

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