News

Arab Stars Flock to Dubai’s Inaugural Film Festival

Sun Dec 05,2004

More than 70 top-rated Arab actors, producers and directors from Egypt, Syria and Kuwait have arrived in Dubai for the inaugural Dubai International Film Festival, Festival organizers announced yesterday. The presence of the Arab constellation of stars is seen as an expression of confidence in a Festival dedicated to building cultural bridges between the Arab and non-Arab worlds.


The stars include actors Duraid Lahham and Ayman Zaidan from Syria, Hussein Fahmi, Izzat Al Alaili, Farouk Al Fishawi, Yahia Al Fakharani, Mohammed Hinidi, Ahmed Bedeir, Samir Sabri, Ilham Shaheen, Laila Olwi, Nilli, Hanan Turk and Hala Sedki from Egypt, and Ali Almufaidi and Dawood Hussein from Kuwait.


Celebrated Egyptian directors Ali Badrakhan, Hala Khalil and Mohammed Abdul-Aziz and producers Safwat Ghatas, Mohamed Hussein Ramzy and Mohamed Al-Subki also arrived in Dubai yesterday, along with Ali Abu Shadi, President of the Al Ismailia Film Festival in Egypt, Abdulrahman Hafiz, President of the Egyptian Media Production City, and Mamdooh Al Laithi, head of the Egyptian Cinematic Arts Union.


Many of the stars were welcomed at Dubai International Airport by Abdulhamid Juma, CEO of Dubai Media City, and Ibrahim Hafiz, Egyptian Consul General to the UAE


“We are very pleased to have so many key Arab stars at Dubai’s first Film Festival not only because they are the cream of the Arab film community, but also because their presence is also an expression of the pan-Arab support for this event,” Juma said. “We hope that they will have a wonderful stay in Dubai, and that all their expectations of our Festival will be met.”


“We are very pleased to have so many key Arab stars at Dubai’s first Film Festival not only because they are the cream of the Arab film community, but also because their presence is also an expression of the pan-Arab support for this event,” Juma said. “We hope that they will have a wonderful stay in Dubai, and that all their expectations of our Festival will be met.”


Neil Stephenson, Festival Director and CEO, said the presence of a strong Arab contingent is crucial to the Festival’s core aims of creating an international showcase of excellence for Arab cinema and building a cultural bridge to link the Arab and non-Arab worlds.


“The Dubai International Film Festival has been created as a place for the Arab and global film communities to come together to exchange views and share experiences,” Stephenson said. “Having a wide cross-section of Arab and international stars here is a very good starting point for us to build on in the years ahead.”


Many of the arriving stars are connected to films playing in the Festival – Best Times (Ahla Al Awkat), Land of Fear (Ard Al Khof), I Love Cinema (Baheb el Cima), Kit Kat and the short film A Square Meter. Renowned Egyptian director Daoud Abdel Sayed will also be honored as part of the Festival’s “Directors in the Spotlight” segment.


A number of UAE stars – including Huda Al Khatib, Ahmed Al Jissmi and Samirah Ahmed – will also be present during the Festival. All of the top stars will be present at the Festival’s opening gala on Monday, December 6.


Three box offices are currently open for business: at the CNN Building Lobby in Dubai Media City from 11 am to 6 pm until December 6, and until 8 pm during the Festival; at the Madinat Theatre in the Souk at Madinat Jumeirah from 11 am to 9 pm until December 6 and until 10.30 pm during the Festival; and at the Mercato mall from 10 am to 6.30 pm until December 6, and until 10.30 pm during the Festival.


Additional box offices will open on December 7 at the Madinat Arena, and at the Auditorium at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel on December 8.


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.


Prices range from Dh. 10 for the four open-air “Screen on the Green” films (Lawrence of Arabia, Mr. India, Gagamboy (Spiderman) 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.


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.


Media Note: A special Web site has been created exclusively for members of the press at www.dubaifilmfest.com/press.html. The site contains an archive of press releases and clippings in Arabic and English, in addition to high-resolution images available for download. Stills downloaded from the site are for promotional purposes only and any usage must include a credit as being courtesy of the rights holder.

Partners
Presented By
Supported by
In Association With