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TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL SHEDS A LIGHT ON ARAB TALENT

Wed Sep 04,2013

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which runs from September 5 – 15, will feature two films that have been financially supported by Enjaaz, the post-production and production funding support programme at the heart of the Dubai Film Market.

The selected films include “Omar” by Academy Award-nominated Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad, who will attend fresh from winning the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and “Palestine Stereo” by acclaimed Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi.

Internationally recognized as one of the most important film festivals in the world, TIFF offers an important launching pad for the best of cinema from around the world with the 2013 TIFF line-up boasting 366 films including a variety of films from the Arab world.

Both films are set in the West Bank and deal with the human impact of political unrest and civil turmoil. Omar will screen in the ‘Special Presentations’ section dedicated to high-profile premieres and the world’s leading filmmakers and “Palestine Stereo” will have its world premiere in the ‘Contemporary World Cinema’ section that features compelling stories and global perspectives.

Hany Abu-Assad returns with “Omar,” his first Palestinian feature since the Golden Globe winning success “Paradise Now.” “Omar” is a noir psychological thriller that revolves around friendship, loyalty and how people have a tendency to hurt those closest to them, whether consciously or subconsciously. Masterfully paced, “Omar” boasts compelling performances from its young cast. Love, betrayal, murder, and an adrenalin-rush ending: Omar is set to become an Arab noir classic.

Palestinian director Rashid Mashawari follows his widely acclaimed dark comedy “Laila’s Birthday” with “Palestine Stereo”, a compelling and ironic drama about two brothers on the West Bank who rendered homeless by an Israeli air strike, hustle odd jobs to raise enough money to emigrate to Canada. A compelling drama tinged with irony, Palestine Stereo is a searing meditation on the significance of homeland and homemaking.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “The selection of these films is testament to the incredible achievement of Palestinian cinema. We are delighted that we were able to directly contribute to the development and production of these films. A core objective of DIFF is to help regional filmmakers further build their networks within the film industry. Participation in TIFF is one of the best platforms an aspiring filmmaker can hope to showcase, network and screen at.”

In addition the DIFF team of programmers will be at TIFF to secure the very best of film from around the world for the 10th Edition of DIFF that runs from the 6th December - 14th December.

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