Muhr Arab Features: Defying Expectations

Thu Dec 06,2012

Dubai, December 6th, 2012 – The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has unveiled its impressive lineup of 16 Muhr Arab Features vying for thousands of dollars in prize money at this year’s Festival, which is just days away from Opening Night on December 9th. The Muhr Awards, now in their seventh year, comprised of 9 World Premieres, 2 International Premieres, 4 Middle East and 1 GCC Premieres in 2012, were instituted to stimulate Arab filmmaking by rewarding the best films and promoting them on DIFF’s world stage.

DIFF’s Artistic Director Masoud Amralla al Ali said: “The Muhr Arab programme has been in existence long enough for us to see contestants returning with their second and third films, which is incredibly rewarding. The astounding diversity of stories, genres and techniques we have seen year on year strengthens our resolve to nurture Arab cinema and continue to provide a platform for audiences who are hungry for real cinema and eager to see their realities and personal reflections on the big screen.” 

Muhr Arab selections from the Levant extend the common theme of love and its universal struggles, which forms the basis of a number of Muhr selections. First-time feature director Fadi G. Haddad brings the International Premiere of his quirky, uplifting When Monaliza Smiled while Lebanese director Fouad Alaywan’s feature film and World Premiere, Asfouri accounts the tangled weave of stories from the inhabitants of a Beirut building.  Meyar Al Roumi’s Round Trip, a World Premiere, is a story about a Damascus taxi driver who goes to Tehran with his beloved Suhair, spending time with her outside his taxi for the first time.  In Jordanian filmmaker Aseel Mansour’s World Premiere Line of Sight a carjacking gone wrong poses an emotional dilemma for a thief to decide who should survive: the car’s owner or himself.

Three films have also been selected from the flourishing Egyptian film industry. Well-known Egyptian filmmaker Khairy Beshara brings the World Premiere of his experimental film Moondog; a beautifully shot inner journey of spacelessness and timelessness filmed over a period of 11 years. In yet another World Premiere; Chaos, Disorder, by Nadine Khan follows the struggles of twenty-something friends in love with the same girl, Manal, who finds herself the prize in a football match between them.

Finally, straight from the international Festival circuit, Winter of Discontent, a feature by Ibrahim El Batout and GCC Premiere at DIFF, introduces the activist Amr, previously tortured by a state security officer, who is swept up in the events of January 25, 2011.

Erfan Rashid, Director of the Arab Programme, concurred: “This year we have crime dramas, experimental documentary, a strong musical presence, contemplative works about memory and love, and of course a number of entries that comment directly or indirectly on the political changes to the region.”

The DIFF box office is open online on at Additional information is also available through the Festival’s dedicated customer care number, 363 FILM (3456).

“Friends of the Festival” packages are now available for the upcoming 9th edition of DIFF. Film enthusiasts can select from any of the six exclusive tiers - DIFF Platinum Partner, DIFF Gold Circle, Patron of DIFF, DIFF Supporter, DIFF Genre and DIFF 10 and 25 ticket deals. In return, patrons will receive insider access to the Festival as an acknowledgement of their support for one of the most anticipated events on the UAE’s cultural calendar. For full details on each package and ticket purchases please visit, contact or the call centre 363-3456.

Tickets ‘One Night to Change Lives’ charity event to benefit Oxfam and Dubai Cares are available by telephone on +971 4 450 4531 or email or visit

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