Dubai Film Festival Charms Elite of Cinema Industry at ‘Arabian Nights’ party in Cannes
Thu May 25,2006
DUBAI, 27 May 2006 - Following the tradition of the previous two years, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) hosted a party in Cannes, at the 59th edition of the world’s premier film festival. DIFF organizers said the annual reception was to mark the significant growth of their three year old Festival, to showcase DIFF as an ideal platform for attracting key industry members to the region and to promote the Festival as a unique, quality event that enhances multiculturalism and encourages artistic excellence.
Held on Tuesday, 23 May at the Majestic beach of the popular Cannes Croisette, the ‘Arabian Nights’ party was attended by an exclusive guest list of nearly 900 people. Industry figures who attended included Roger Ebert, world renowned film critic; Bob Yari, producer of the Oscar winning film ‘Crash’; Robert Lantos, producer of ‘Being Julia’; Anant Singh, preeminent film producer from South Africa whose forthcoming films include the Long Walk to Freedom -a biography of Nelson Mandela; Denise O’Dell, co-producer of ‘Kingdom of Heaven’; Mario Van Peebles, actor; Teresa Cheung, actress, and Remy Bonkasky, martial arts champion and actor.
The four-hour event captured global media spotlight through the presence of Screen International, Hollywood Reporter and Variety among international trade publications, as well as various TV crews. Colin Brown, Editor in Chief of Screen International, welcomed guests with Mr. Neil Stephenson, Director and CEO of DIFF. Woven around a quintessentially Arabic theme, the evening recreated the magical beauty of the Middle East with an ensemble of lantern-lit marquise reflecting authentic accents of the Orient in its décor, mood and menu. Among the thematic elements were henna tattooists, fortune tellers, belly dancers and an over-friendly camel at the entrance.
Welcoming the guests on behalf of DIFF organizers, Colin Brown said: “Screen International takes pride in supporting the Dubai International Film Festival for the third consecutive year. DIFF is an event that further cements its status with every edition as a Festival with a distinctive personality. DIFF’s objective of bridging cross-cultural societies and promoting creative talent within the global film community reflects Screen International’s endeavor to acquaint film enthusiasts with meaningful and entertaining cinema.”
Neil D. Stephenson, CEO and Director of the Dubai International Film Festival, welcomed guests and provided them with a glimpse of the festival’s previous editions through a video presentation that aroused interest and curiosity. It’s audience has come to regard the Cannes party as a taste of the festival’s hospitality. “Our aim is to galvanize the region and the world in a fully collaborative celebration of cinema to strengthen Dubai’s role as a film destination with a focus on fostering inter-cultural dialogue and to connect to Arab cultural traditions. It’s not just the experts that we bring together, we also engage young audiences from diverse backgrounds to express their identities and connect to cultural traditions,” said Stephenson.
Excitement among the crowds escalated as the winner of the grand raffle draw prize was announced. Renata Lorenc from New York was the lucky winner of a pair of Business class return air tickets to Dubai, and a week-long stay at the luxurious and ornate Madinat Jumeirah, during DIFF from 10 – 17 December, 2006. The evening had guests expressing interest in the DIFF 2006 program of films and events. Representatives of DIFF at the Cannes party included members of the DIFF Management team and the Festival’s international programming team. The party also served as a platform to promote the up-and-coming Dubai Studio City.