Star-studded Arabian Galas set to thrill at DIFF
Mon Dec 03,2012
Dubai, December 3rd, 2012 – Saudi film pioneer Haifaa Al Mansour and debut feature filmmaker Karzan Kader will present the gala screenings of their innovative films at the 9th Edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) which opens on Sunday, 9th December. The 2012 line-up will present movies from around the world and an impressive talent line-up of globally acclaimed actors and directors, and the largest selection of quality, contemporary Arab cinema anywhere in the world.
DIFF’s Muhr Arab Feature line-up includes 16 films made up of 9 World Premieres, 2 International Premieres, 4 Middle East and 1 GCC Premieres. The festival’s increasingly large showcase of home-grown films will see 17 films screened during DIFF in the three Muhr categories; shorts, features and documentaries that have been supported through initiatives such as Enjaaz; the Festivals post-production programme.
DIFF’s Artistic Director Masoud Amralla al Ali said: “We are honoured to have the opportunity to showcase these incredible films, providing a platform for Arab filmmakers to achieve their ambitions and giving them the opportunity to stand tall alongside their international counterparts. Furthermore, the fact that 17 of the films in the Muhr Arab Features, Shorts and Documentaries have received funding from Enjaaz, shows that a boost to our regional filmmakers produces incredible returns, not least to audience members.”
Following astonishing success in Cannes the film circuit is abuzz with praise for Bekas, which will make its International Premiere at DIFF on December 10th. Set against the turbulent Iraqi landscape under Saddam’s regime, the instantly appealing Bekas is an endearing tale of two homeless Iraqi-Kurdish children living on the edge of survival who catch a glimpse of the film Superman at the local cinema—and resolve to travel to America on a donkey to live with him!
On December 12th, Haifaa Al Mansour will walk the DIFF red carpet at the Middle East Premiere Gala screening of her transfixing and extraordinarily touching film Wadjda. Partially inspired by her own youth, this heartfelt coming-of-age story chronicles a young girl pushing the boundaries of modern society in Saudi Arabia as she strives to possess her own bicycle. The ground-breaking film has already been awarded the Art Cinema Award at The Venice Film Festival 2012 and sparked international discussion and interest in the burgeoning talent of the Arab World.
Further selections in the category include the thrilling yet tragic biopic Zabana by Said Ould Khelifa, which will make its Middle East Premiere at DIFF, marks the fiftieth anniversary of Algeria’s fight for independence, honouring the eponymous freedom fighter whose execution by guillotine launched Algeria on its road to freedom. In another revolutionary tale Nesma, by Homeida Behi, takes place in a hot Tunisian summer after months of uprisings. In this World Premiere, someone impersonates Yousef as he and his wife try to rent out Nesma, a luxury villa—and stalks him at every turn.
Several of the Muhr Arab feature entries are crime dramas with an Arab twist: from Moroccan director Nour-Eddine Lakhmari comes the International Premiere of Zero, the story of downtrodden cop Amine who is dominated by his invalid father, living hopeless and depressed until he decides to investigate the disappearance of a young girl in Casablanca’s seedy underbelly. Djamila Sahraoui’s Yema, which received recent acclaim at Venice – Orizzonti and was awarded best actress in Namur (Belgium), is set deep in the Algerian mountains, where Ouardia’s son Tarek has been killed by his brother, the leader of an Islamic extremist group. (Middle East Premiere)
Music is a universal language that bridges cultural divides in French-Iraqi singer-songwriter Leila Albayaty’s feature film Berlin Telegram, an unconventional tale of heartache about a woman (played by Bayati herself) who is jilted by her long-time lover and embarks on a musical odyssey to Brussels, Berlin, Lisbon and Cairo.
The World Premiere of My Brother, a feature by Kamal El Mahouti, also approaches failed romance in its portrayal of an artist caught between French, Moroccan and Muslim identities, set to the rhythms of Gnawa folk music. In another World Premiere of the same genre, Hakim Bellabes’ Defining Love: A Failed Attempt follows two actors who have traveled to the remote Atlas Mountains in Morocco to play two legendary star-crossed lovers.
Erfan Rashid, Director of the Arab Programme, concurred: “The Muhr feature line-up this year is incredible, many of the filmmakers are experiencing international recognition and winning awards at some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world further demonstrating the evolution of the Arab film industry. New contenders are challenging the norms, and embarking on a new course of filmmaking with compelling films that explore the diversity of the Arab world.”
The DIFF box office is open online on at www.dubaifilmfest.com. Additional information is also available through the Festival’s dedicated customer care number, 363 FILM (3456).
“Friends of the Festival” packages are now available for the upcoming 9th edition of DIFF. Film enthusiasts can select from any of the six exclusive tiers - DIFF Platinum Partner, DIFF Gold Circle, Patron of DIFF, DIFF Supporter, DIFF Genre and DIFF 10 and 25 ticket deals. In return, patrons will receive insider access to the Festival as an acknowledgement of their support for one of the most anticipated events on the UAE’s cultural calendar. For full details on each package and ticket purchases please visit www.dubaifilmfest.com, contact DIFF.Customerservice@filmfest.ae or the call centre 363-3456.
Tickets ‘One Night to Change Lives’ charity event to benefit Oxfam and Dubai Cares are available by telephone on +971 4 450 4531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.onenighttochangelives.com
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