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Beyond Borders —DIFF Scoops Best of AsiaAfrica for Muhr Competition 2012

Tue Oct 30,2012

Dubai, October 30th, 2012 – The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has unveiled the first titles in its lineup of for the prestigious Muhr AsiaAfrica Awards, now in their fifth year. The 2012 competition will see veteran helmers up against debut directors for some of the most lucrative prizes on the international festival circuit.

Many of the Muhr films have already been garlanded with an award, which promises entertaining fare for Dubai’s cinema lovers. Nashen Moodley, DIFF’s Director of AsiaAfrica Programmes, said: “The Muhr AsiaAfrica programme always offers fresh, unconventional and exciting cinema. DIFF audiences will get to see an abundance of stories that challenge what is known about these two vast regions, from some of the best working directors out there as well as new directors. If you are looking to engage with some unique perspectives on the world today, the Muhr AsiaAfrica films will not disappoint.”
The exciting line-up includes Your Beauty is Worth Nothing, director Hussayin Tabak’s first full-length feature that explores the life of a sensitive Turkish boy living as a refugee in modern-day Vienna. Award-winning Iranian director Vahid Vakilifar’s second feature Taboor is a dystopic road movie that follows a motorcyclist of fragile health on a mission crisscrossing the far flung streets of Tehran.
From neighbouring Afghanistan, Danish-Afghan documentarian presents, My Afghanistan: Life in the Forbidden, the pioneering feature documentary invites viewers into the homes of people in Afghanistan for an insight of the joys and sorrows associated with living in the shadow of war.
A number of veteran directors offer stiff competition to these relative neophytes including Wang Bing from China, often referred to as one of the foremost figures in documentary film-making.  His masterful new documentary San Zimei - Three Sisters is an intimate, observational portrait of a peasant family who eke out a humble existence in a small village set against the stunning mountain landscapes of China’s Yunnan province.


Singaporean directors James Leong and Lynn Lee bring The Great North Korean Picture Show, an unprecedented look at the domestic film industry in this highly secretive nation. From Iran, four of the country’s well-known filmmakers contribute to the omnibus documentary Kahrizak, Four Views, which delves into aging, loss and memory in the context of a famous nursing home for the elderly.
Feature filmmakers are equally well represented. From Turkey, Zeki Demirkubuz comes Inside, a striking adaptation of Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground”. Demirkubuz has won a handful of awards, including Best Director and the people’s choice award at the Istanbul International Film Festival and the best film in the Asian and Arab competition at 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival in New Delhi. 
Prolific Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, one of Asia’s most celebrated filmmakers has directed 16 films since 2005 — all of them award-winning, including his Muhr Best Film award for 2009’s Lola. This year’s entry is Thy Womb, is a morally complex, intricate and very touching story of a childless couple who are determined to have a child.

Representing Africa, Angolan director Zeze Gomboa’s sardonic historical drama second feature The Great Kilapy follows a good-hearted, apolitical con man who, on the eve of Angolan independence in the mid-1970s, pulls off a massive swindle at the expense of the Portuguese colonial administration. French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis’ third feature Today follows Satché, a man who has been marked to die for mysterious reasons, on his surreal last day on earth.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of DIFF said: “Our Asia Africa programme is extremely important and close to our hearts and every year through our Muhr Awards we honour the talent of Asian and African filmmakers. We are dedicated to bringing audiences fascinating films, that would be otherwise hard to access in the region and a chance to engage with the filmmakers to understand and appreciate the richness of African and Asian filmmaking.”

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