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Spectacular Gala Line-Up Headline DIFF 2009

Mon Nov 30,2009

Flashbulbs, red carpet, star spotting and the first-ever screening of a much-awaited movie – the line-up for the much-anticipated DIFF celebrity Galas at Madinat Arena has been revealed.

Rob Marshall’s Nine, a sumptuous multi-layered adaptation of the popular stage play will open the 6th edition of the week-long Festival on December 9. Starring Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren, the film depicts the midlife crisis of a director struggling with creativity which leads him into a series of complicated romantic entanglements- including his wife, his mistress and his muse. The acclaimed director of Chicago (winner of six Oscars including Best Picture) and Memoirs of a Geisha, Marshall is scheduled to direct the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. .

Joining the opening film are some of the finest and eagerly awaited movies including world premiere of City of Life, the first multilingual Emirati film by Ali F Mostafa; young Indian superstar Ranbir Kapoor’s Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year world premiere and Hollywood’s spellbinding sensation from Titanic director James Cameron – Avatar.

DIFF, in conjunction with Lightstorm, Twentieth Century Fox and Empire International, is excited to present AVATAR,  James Cameron’s epic motion picture adventure as the spectacular finale to this year’s festival. The film, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang and Michelle Rodriguez amongst others takes us to a world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on an epic adventure, ultimately fighting to save the alien world he has learned to call home. James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of Titanic first conceived the film 15 years ago, when the means to realise his vision did not exist yet. Now, after four years of production, Avatar, a live-action film with a new generation of special effects, delivers a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film disappears into the emotion of the characters and the sweep of the story.

DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the Galas at DIFF capture the soul, spirit and spectacle of the festival. “These screenings define DIFF – in terms of the power of film content, diversity of films with an international outlook and the sheer enthusiasm of the audience.”

“This year, our Gala screenings will span the globe in an unprecedented range of offerings; showcasing the creative brilliance of industry frontrunners to sensational young talent. DIFF is a meeting ground for international filmmakers that is increasingly respected around the world, and we hope to engender fruitful relationships between thriving film cultures,’’ he said.

Highlighting the effectiveness of DIFF in nurturing home-grown talent is Arabian Nights gala City of Life, a world premiere and the first multi-lingual feature film to be written, produced and directed by Ali F Mostafa. The film, shot in Dubai, is intended for both local and international release, and revolves around three lives – a privileged Emirati male, disillusioned Indian taxi driver, and  Western woman – whose lives are all about to collide for better or worse. The cast comprises Alexandra Maria Lara, Sonu Sood, Saoud Al Ka’abi and Yassin Alsaman, Jason Flemming, Natalie Dormer, Ahmed Ahmed, Habib Ghuloom and Javed Jaffery.

Rocket Singh-Salesman of the Year, the Indian Cinema Gala features India’s newest youth sensation, Ranbir Kapoor and is helmed by Shimit Amin, who shot to fame with Chak De India. The film is a cheerful, yet sharply observed satire on office life in Mumbai’s booming world of IT.

Children’s favourite Alvin and the Chipmunks return with their ‘squeakel’ for the Cinema for Children gala. The chipmunk chums, this time, are striving for pop stardom at their school competition while encountering their wily female counterparts, a sassy trio called The Chipettes. Directed by Betty Thomas, the film stars Jason Lee and David Cross, and features the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney.

Mother and Child will grab the limelight at the Cinema of the World Gala. Written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia, the film stars Naomi Watts, Samuel L Jackson, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and Shareeka Epps. The joyous-yet-melancholic story features three parallel narratives, probing the extraordinary nature of motherhood.

The highly anticipated Cartagena starring Sophie Marceau and Christopher Lambert is the In Focus France Gala. Based on the novel L’Homme de Chevet, and set against a Colombian backdrop, the love story, directed by Alain Monne, involves a former boxing champion and paralysed woman for whom he cares.

The Cultural Bridge presentation is the world premiere of Julia Bacha’s Budrus, in which a Palestinian leader unites Fatah, Hamas and Israelis in an unarmed movement to save his village from destruction. Success eludes them until his 15-year-old daughter jumps into the fray.

Now in its sixth year, DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and will be held from December 9 to 16. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). For more information on the festival, please visit www.dubaifilmfest.com.

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