DIFF to Host World Premiere of ‘Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World’

Mon Nov 21,2005

Dubai, November 21, 2005 – In line with the ‘Cultural Bridge’ theme of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), multi-award winning helmer Albert Brooks’ Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World has been selected to have its world premiere in Dubai on December 15, 2005, as part of the festival’s second edition. DIFF will take place from December 11 – 17, 2005. The comedy will be screened in DIFF’s flagship “Operation Cultural Bridge” section, which underlines the event’s objectives to build cultural bridges through film. The section, and the larger festival, was developed in response to the significant increase in conflict and misunderstanding that has arisen in recent years between the Arab and Muslim world, and the broader Western world and is actively supported by the Dubai and United Arab Emirates leadership. Distributed by Warner Independent Pictures and financed by Shangri-La Entertainment, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World perfectly complements DIFF’s strong desire to connect diverse and sometimes wary audiences. With this film, Albert Brooks aims to tackle the many unjust prejudices now surrounding the Muslim people and flies in the face of the current Hollywood trend to tread carefully around such sensitive subjects. This groundbreaking film follows the hilarious story of US comedian Albert Brooks being sent to India and Pakistan by the US government, with the express intention of finding out what makes the more than 300 million Muslims in the region laugh. He must deliver a five hundred-page report on his findings. Accompanied by two state department handlers and his trusty assistant, Brooks embarks on a journey of discovery that will take him from a concert stage in New Delhi, to the Taj Mahal, to secret locations in the mountains of Pakistan. Brooks wrote and directed this thought-provoking comedy and artfully deals with the post 9/11 issues that are now part of everyday living. Completing the principal cast line-up are Sheetal Sheth (Pocketful of Dreams, Wings of Hope), Jon Tenney (You Can Count on Me, Nixon), John Carroll Lynch (Pushing Tin, Face/Off) and Amy Ryan (Keane, The War of the Worlds). Industry veteran Herbert Nanas produces alongside executive producer Joann Perritano. In making the announcement, Festival Director Neil Stephenson said: “It is a great milestone and honour for us at the Dubai Film Festival to host the world premiere of Looking for Comedy in the Middle East. Laughter has no accent and no boundaries, and is one of the fastest and most effective ways of bringing people together. We were so impressed with Albert’s wonderful motivations in wanting to make this movie as they go straight to the heart of what we are trying to achieve in Dubai. Dubai, after all, is in the Muslim world and so we knew that this film belonged in our festival.” The festival’s “Operation Cultural Bridge” section features a selection of films from around the world, including features, documentaries and shorts that speak against racial prejudice and intolerance, and stimulate cross-cultural dialogue. In its inaugural edition last year, DIFF drew the cream of the Arab and Asian film industries, alongside such Hollywood names as Morgan Freeman, Orlando Bloom and Sarah Michelle Gellar and African icon Desmond Tutu. Brooks said, “I’m very happy to be premiering my movie in Dubai. The \“Cultural Bridge\” theme sounds exactly like what we should be doing in the world of film today and I’m thrilled to be part of it.\” Brooks also stressed that the film does not make fun of the Arab and Asian cultures and religions, and is confident that the film will play well in this part of the world. “I think that the Muslim world would laugh at this because I am the person who is the buffoon in this movie. It’s not them. It’s not countries. It’s this guy. The comedian is the one we are making fun of; no one else,” he said. “What I’m trying to show is America making fun of itself.” Warner Independent Pictures will release Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World early next year in the US. Arclight Films is handling international sales.

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