First Film From Yemen to Screen at Dubai Film Festival

Sat Dec 10,2005

Dubai, December 10, 2005: The first and only feature film ever to be made in Yemen will make its Gulf Premiere at the second Dubai International Film Festival this week, as part of a program to showcase young filmmakers from across the Arab world. A New Day in Old Sana’a, a quirky and fun love story, addresses the age-old conflict between tradition and modernity via a highly unusual plot. The film’s protagonist, Tariq, faces the biggest dilemma of his life when his fiancee’s wedding dress is stolen and he falls in love with the mysterious young woman who appears in it. His fiancée, meanwhile, turns to the local community to start a frantic search for the unidentified thief, resulting in a string of unexpected events. The film marks the feature film debut for British-Yemeni director Bader Ben Hirsi, who has previously worked in drama and television documentary; and is one of the six films showcased in the Dubai Film Festival’s new Dubai Discoveries section. It is also the first feature film to emerge from Yemen, which has no history of film production. DIFF programmer Ziad Khuzai said the aims of the section are two-fold: to show how young Arab filmmakers are establishing new cinematic forms that break away from the commercial mainstream; and to convey the difficulties young Arab filmmakers face in securing financing and funding for their films. Other films included in the Dubai Discoveries program include Yasmine Kassari’s L’Enfant Endormi (The Sleeping Child), which follows the lives of the women and children left behind in Morocco after the men move abroad to seek work; Abdellatif Kechiche’s L’Esquive (The Dodge), an adolescent love story set in the Arab suburbs of Paris; Oday Rasheed’s Underexposure (Ghair Salih), the first feature film to emerge from Iraq in the post-Saddam era; Nour-Eddine Lakhmari’s Le Regard (The Gaze), the story of an award-winning French news photographer who tries to come to terms with his actions during France’s occupation of Morocco; and Under the Ceiling (Taht Al-Sakif), a political views of the new generation’s fortunes in modern-day Syria helmed by Syrian director Nidal Al-Dibs. The second Dubai International Film Festival opens at 8pm on Sunday, December 11, and continues until Saturday, December 17, and includes 98 feature and short films and documentaries. Tickets to DIFF 2005 are priced at Dh. 20 for regular screenings, and are available at Festival Box Offices in the Madinat Theatre at Souq Madinat Jumeirah, in the lobby of Building 2 at Dubai Media City, and at CineStar Cinemas at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre. Tickets, and an entire schedule of the Festival films, are also available through the Dubai Film Festival website, or via the DIFF Call Centre on 04-367-6701. The Festival is presented by Dubai Media City and its Founding Sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Properties, Emirates, Etisalat and the Madinat Jumeirah – the Arabian Resort. The Festival’s Gold Sponsors are Bin Hendi Enterprises, National Bank of Dubai, Showtime, The Kanoo Group and The Palm Jumeirah; the Silver Sponsors are Filmworks, Motivate Publishing and Sony.

Presented By
Supported by
In Association With