DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL INAUGURATES VIBRANT 2007 SEASON
Mon Nov 26,2007
Dubai, November 26, 2007: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) officially kicked off the run-up to its fourth edition today, revealing the new initiatives and activities that will augment the festival experience for film lovers and industry professionals alike.
Festival Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said: “In 2007, we have 141 of the best international films from 52 different countries, many of them from the Arab world. We have made numerous improvements for our fourth edition that will take us further in our mission to celebrate excellence in cinema and to nurture and develop local and international talent while also adding value to culture and the arts in Dubai and the UAE.”
Shivani Pandya, DIFF’s Managing Director, added: \“DIFF will be visibly larger and more vibrant than ever before this year, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and a very dedicated team from all over the world. We are very grateful to have had the support of the Dubai community-the media, festivalgoers, and our government partners-in bringing this event to life, and we are confident that you will see the returns of your support this year at DIFF 2007.
For the first time, festival guests will be able to exercise their vote in the People’s Choice Awards, which will honour festival favourites in the Feature, Short and Documentary categories. Following each screening, viewers will receive a ballot on which they can rate the film they have just seen. The festival will add the results, and winning filmmakers will receive a People’s Choice Award trophy in recognition of DIFF audience members’ appreciation.
Voters will have more to choose from in 2007 with several new activities, such as the recently announced Rhythm n Reels, a series of evening screenings pairing a musical film with a live performance. The range of films in the programming roster has also been modified and expanded: the Cinema of Asia segment will now include films from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, while Indian cinema will have its own programming segment. Cinema of Asia will contain a special Focus on China to introduce that country’s diverse cinematic offerings, and this focus will change to a different Asian country each year.
Young festivalgoers will be kept busy with new children’s activities. Most children love animation, and they can learn how to make their own animated film in an animation workshop led by the Animation House from Denmark with the cooperation of Mohammed Saeed Harib, creator of the well known Freej series, and Steve Hickner, director of the Children’s Cinema Gala, Bee Movie. Children at the workshop will bring one of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales to life, and will receive a DVD of their work to take home.
There will also be a special group art activity after the screening of the children’s film The Peace Tree, about two little girls who encounter resistance from their parents when they wish to celebrate each other’s holidays of Christmas and Eid. Like the two friends, children will make a ‘peace tree,’ composed of symbols of the world’s major faiths, celebrating diversity and cultural knowledge.
Continuing to develop DIFF’s educational mandate, DIFF 2007 will also screen one-minute videos by adolescents who participated in three recent workshops in Mumbai, Cairo and Dubai in partnership with UNICEF’s oneminutesjr. initiative. This international programme seeks to give young people the tools and space to express themselves on issues of relevance to adolescents globally, such as self-esteem, world peace and tolerance, and the videos are windows into their worlds.
The themes of tolerance and world peace are taken up further in the Cultural Bridge panel, which each year sees a gathering of distinguished guests discussing the need for cultural dialogue and inclusion expressed in DIFF’s festival motto, “Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds.” This year’s panellists will be world-famous author Paulo Coelho, Lifetime Achievement Honoree Danny Glover, and South African novelist and now filmmaker Rayda Jacobs.
DIFF 2007 also presents a new fundraising initiative, Cinema Against AIDS Dubai, under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya, Wife of the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai. Chaired by Sharon Stone, the event will be a glittering gala dinner to raise funds for AmFAr, the world’s most prominent AIDS and HIV research and public policy advocacy group. The event will coincide with the UAE’s first AIDS Week; Cinema Against AIDS Dubai is supported by the UAE Ministry of Health.
Industry guests will also find new activities at DIFF 2007: the festival has introduced numerous initiatives as part of the Industry Office, now in its second year: The Dubai Film Connection will function as a Project Market, where 15 projects will be invited to a series of discussions and panels with leading international industry figures. Three projects will be chosen to participate in the prestigious Marché du Filme Internationale at Cannes. In addition to a series of networking platforms for cinema professionals, there will also be a producer’s workshop with the European Audio Visual Entrepreneurs, to continue to develop a network of film professionals in the local filmmaking community.
To incorporate the increase in festival activity and to provide easier access to the festival for a wider range of Dubai residents, the Grand Cineplex has been added to the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai Media City and Mall of the Emirates as a screening venue. Box Offices are located at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, the lobby of the CNN building at Dubai Media City, Cinestar at Mall of the Emirates, and the Grand Cineplex. All Box Offices are open from 10:00 to 22:00 pm, with the exception of the CNN Building, which will open from 10:00 to 18:00.
DIFF Ticket prices are: AED 25 for adults, AED 20 for students and children. For Gala screenings, tickets are AED 80 and AED 50 for adults and children, however children’s attendance at Gala films is limited to the Cinema for Children Gala screening of Bee Movie. For all other galas, audience members must be above age 16. Screen on the Green tickets are AED 10. Rhythm and Reels tickets cost AED 175 for a single evening and AED 450 for a package of three evenings.
DIFF 2007 will run from December 9 to 16; Principal Sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates and Jumeirah.
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) was launched in December 2004 under the theme: Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds.
DIFF is held under the honorary Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. DIFF is a not-for-profit cultural event, presented and organised by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority.
As the previous editions of DIFF have demonstrated, the Festival not only presents cinematic excellence from around the world, but is also an important high-profile platform for aspiring home-grown talent.
“Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds,” has been hailed by all as a unique and relevant theme to promote better understanding and mutual respect between different communities and countries.
Since its inception, DIFF has become an important meeting point for international and regional filmmakers and industry professionals setting the foundation for potential future collaborations.
The past three editions of DIFF have presented more than 250 films, documentaries and shorts from more than 48 countries.
In 2006 the festival took place at the magnificent Madinat Jumeirah resort. As a further commitment of DIFF’s endeavours to facilitate greater opportunities for regional Arab talent, the Muhr Awards was launched. Another first for DIFF in 2006 was the setting up of the Industry Office, which was established with a view to exclusively assist the needs of all registered delegates.
The fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will take place from December 9-16 and will present the best of Arab and international cinema in the feature film, shorts and documentary formats. Building on the success of last year, DIFF 2007 will also host the Muhr Awards and the Industry Office with new features.
For any further information and regular updates on DIFF 2007 please log on to www.dubaifilmfest.com
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