‘Gulf Voices’ puts spotlight on Arab talent at DIFF 2009

Thu Nov 05,2009

An eclectic showcase of stories covering tradition and modernity
Predominance of young filmmakers with passion for meaningful cinema

An investigation into suspicious voices from an abandoned home to insightful journeys into the heart of deep-rooted Arab family ties are part of the eclectic showcase of films to be screened as part of ‘Gulf Voices,’ at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2009.

Featuring the finest Arab filmmaking talent, ‘Gulf Voices’ this year is rich in youthfulness with films by professionals who have earned critical acclaim in Cannes as well as media students.

‘Gulf Voices’ also features a rich repertoire of movies by Emirati filmmakers highlighting the contribution of DIFF in creating a film culture for the nation. DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the sheer diversity of content, narrative styles and technological values demonstrates the strong evolution of Arab filmmaking over the past few years.

“Talented youngsters as well as experienced professionals are screening their films at Gulf Voices,” said Al Ali. “The common thread in all these movies is the creativity of the filmmakers to push beyond the obvious subject matter, and create compelling narratives even from ordinary situations.”

Among the UAE films confirmed for screening is the delightful take on the new generation caught between modernity and tradition, Finding Mr & Mrs Right: Dubai Style. The documentary by Elhaam Sharaf and Hind Al Hammadi, third-year Applied Communications students at Dubai Women’s College, shares the modern youth’s thoughts on newfound freedom, family expectations and the qualities they expect of their ideal partner. The film won the third prize at the 2009 Gulf Film Festival for student documentary.

Nesf Galb (The Half Heart) by Bilal Abdullah, also an accomplished theatre director, is a powerful story on Arab familial ties through the eyes of an unmarried pregnant girl, while Amal’s Cloud by Rawia Abdullah, a mass communications student, is about patience and hope – again through an individual’s eyes. Emirati actor and director Nawaf Al Janahi, in his first feature film brings out the bonding between a terminally ill man and a thief with The Circle starring Saudi Arabian heartthrob Abdulmohsin Al Nimr and Once by Nayla Al Khaja revolves around a 17-year old Arab girl transforming herself into a beautiful young woman and questioning her relationship.

Al Qant by Omani filmmaker Al Motasim Al Shaqsi is about a group of children investigating suspicious voices coming from an abandoned house. Bahraini production Al Bashara (The Good Omen) by Mohammed Rashed Bu Ali is a heart-warming story based on the old tradition of displaying Al Nashal (a woman’s dress) on the rooftop of the house to welcome family members returning from a long travel or absence and Ali Ali’s Mraimy depicts the trials of a belly dancer, who is rejected by society and explores her life from the perspective of a fisherman starring Fatima Abdulraheem and Jumaan Al Rowaee.

Mujarad Ensan (Naked Human), an animation by Kuwaiti national Omar Al-Masab traces human knowledge from evolution to now, and has been acknowledged for its “superior production values and beautiful use of wide-scope technology.” Mouz (Banana) by Kuwaiti director Meqdad Al Kout is a strong visual portrayal of a man in the centre of a temporary marriage.

Featuring a diverse selection of films from around the world, DIFF 2009 will be held from December 9 to 16. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF.

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