Tue Dec 11,2007

Dubai, December 11, 2007: The director and cast of Whatever Lola Wants, the film about the growing friendship between a lonely American dancer in Cairo and the living legend of Oriental dance who agrees to mentor her, officially launched the film at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today.

Directed by Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch, the film will have its world premiere at the Gala for the Arabian Nights programming segment. Of note is the diverse cast of mixed nationalities: American Laura Ramsey (She’s the Man, 2005) plays Lola, and Lebanese actress Carmen Lebbos plays the reclusive Oriental dance teacher Ismahan. Fellow stars Hichem Rostom and Assaad Bouab have been extremely popular in their native markets, Rostom in Tunisia and Bouab in Morocco.

Ayouch stated: \“I am moved by the opportunity to premiere here in Dubai.  There are not many places in the world where we can gather people from East and West - that’s what the movie is about.\” He added that the film both stressed the differences between the East and West and aimed for understanding between civilizations: \“The idea of the clash of civilizations is not right. We need to understand each other.\”

Rostom continued, saying: \“This is about human dialogue. Each woman changed the other - they both evolved.\” Lebbos concurred:  \“There is a misconception about belly dancing.  It means ‘living the moment‘ - it is not about steps and motions, but emotions. In the movie, I try to explain to Laura that dancing is almost like a spiritual state of mind.\”

One of Ayouch’s aims was for the American public to relate more to the Arab world’s positive aspects, such as dance, through Ramsey’s character. Ramsey, who came to the role with no dance experience, trained in Casablanca for six months, six days a week and five hours a day.

Carmen Lebbos welcomed the chance to have more opportunities to portray the lives of Arabs, as a means of teaching people around the Arab world about each other. Stardom came late to the actress because of the conflict in Lebanon, but Ayoush stressed that she was the only woman he would have in the part. He stated: \“She is such a great actress with a bright career ahead of her.  She deserves more and it is the beginning of something for her.\”

Ayouch concluded by praising DIFF for putting the spotlight on Arab cinema, stating: \“We need to keep our identity alive.\”



About DIFF:


The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) was launched in December 2004 under the theme: Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds.

DIFF is held under the honorary Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. DIFF is a not-for-profit cultural event, presented and organised by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority.

As the previous editions of DIFF have demonstrated, the Festival not only presents cinematic excellence from around the world, but is also an important high-profile platform for aspiring home-grown talent.

\“Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds,\” has been hailed by all as a unique and relevant theme to promote better understanding and mutual respect between different communities and countries.

Since its inception, DIFF has become an important meeting point for international and regional filmmakers and industry professionals setting the foundation for potential future collaborations.

The past three editions of DIFF have presented more than 250 films, documentaries and shorts from more than 48 countries.

DIFF 2006

In 2006 the festival took place at the magnificent Madinat Jumeirah resort. As a further commitment of DIFF’s endeavours to facilitate greater opportunities for regional Arab talent, the Muhr Awards was launched. Another first for DIFF in 2006 was the setting up of the Industry Office, which was established with a view to exclusively assist the needs of all registered delegates.

DIFF 2007

The fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will take place from December 9-16 and will present the best of Arab and international cinema in the feature film, shorts and documentary formats. Building on the success of last year, DIFF 2007 will also host the Muhr Awards and the Industry Office with new features.

For any further information and regular updates on DIFF 2007 please log on to

For further information, please contact:

Majid Wasi

Senior Account Manager


Tel:  +9714 361 3333

Fax: +9714 368 8001


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