Array of Festival Films Shine Light on Palestine
Thu Dec 09,2004
At least three Festival films and a series of shorts screening at the Dubai International Film Festival shine a light on the current Palestinian situation, with both international and Arab filmmakers investigating different aspects of the conflict.
Two of the most acclaimed Festival films – Wall, the French study of Israel’s West Bank barrier and Private, the award-winning and suspense-filled portrayal of a Palestinian family held hostage by Israeli soldiers – have drawn intense public attention at the Festival. The second and final screening of Private takes place at 9.45 pm tonight (Friday) at the Madinat Theatre, and Italian director Savio Constanzo is expected to be at the screening.
Other Palestinian-focused films in the Festival include The Olive Harvest, the only film by a Palestinian director in the six-week Festival. The film tells a complex love story: upon his release from an Israeli prison, a young man develops romantic feelings for his childhood friend, who is engaged to his brother.
Palestinian director Hanna Elias, who will be at the screenings, chose to work with an Israeli crew to create the film, believing that Israelis and Palestinians can and should work together. Trust and mutual respect is built from cooperation, Elias says, and cooperation is the only sensible way to address a violent conflict that has consumed the Middle East for decades. The Olive Harvest will be screening at 4.15 pm on Friday at the Mercato 2 cinema, and at 1.45 pm on Saturday at Mercato 4.
Other Palestinian directors have also contributed short films to the Festival: Hopefully for the Best (Laalo Kheir) leads the Arabian Shorts Series 3 at 10 pm on Friday at the Jumeirah Beach Auditorium. A winner in the Ramallah Film Festival, director-cameraman Raed Helou has produced an edge-of-the-seat thriller that touches both heart and mind.
Festival prices range from Dh. 10 for the four open-air “Screen on the Green” films (Lawrence of Arabia, Gagamboy (Spiderman), Mr. India and Five Children And It) at the Dubai Media City amphitheater to Dh. 20 for regular screenings at DIFF main venues and Dh. 50 for the red-carpet gala screenings at the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort-Dubai. Two special offers – student discounts and a Five-Flick deal that offers a set of five regular screening tickets for the price of four – have also been created to make the Festival accessible to all UAE residents and visitors.
Five DIFF box offices are currently open for business: at the CNN Building Lobby in Dubai Media City from 11 am to 8 pm; at the Madinat Theatre in the Souk at Madinat Jumeirah from 11 am to 10.30 pm; at the Mercato mall from 10 am to 10.30 pm; at the Madinat Arena and at the Auditorium at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Telephone bookings and orders can be made with the Box Office on (04) 367 6701 / (04) 367 6707 for advance bookings and directions to box office venues.
The Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 6 and 11, 2004, and will feature approximately 75 films including features, retrospectives and short films. The Festival is divided into 10 distinct programs, each focusing on a particular Festival theme. DIFF is presented by Dubai Media City and its presenting sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Emirates, Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort-Dubai, and Nakheel. DIFF Gold Sponsors are DOM International, The Kanoo Group and National Bank of Dubai, and Silver Sponsors are Arabian Radio Network, Atlas Telecom, Dubai Radio Network, E-Vision and Motivate Publishing.