Queen Noor to deliver keynote address at DIFF’s Cultural Bridge panel on December 13

Mon Dec 07,2009

The heartbeat of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) – the Cultural Bridge Programme – this year brings together a formidable line-up of illustrious personalities and film veterans who will explore ways and means to promote solidarity and break down cultural barriers.

Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan will deliver the Keynote Speech, and will be joined by Julia Bacha, Director of the Cultural Bridge Gala Film Budrus, Hollywood Producer Mike Medavoy and MIT Professor Rebecca Saxe. Shamil Idriss will moderate the event, which will be held immediately after the Budrus screening on December 13 at Madinat Arena.

The highly impressive quartet of speakers will analyse the role of the media in widening and uniting diverse cultures, and share cutting-edge research from the fields of neuro-science and social psychology, providing a unique forum for topical discussion.

DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said the Cultural Bridge panel has firmly established itself as one of the festival’s principal highlights, providing thought-provoking subjects which strongly resonate with Dubai’s cosmopolitan, culturally-aware audience.

“We are honoured to have Her Majesty Queen Noor with us this year, and we look forward to a ‘full house’, given her status as an inspirational role model across the Arab world and globally admired as a humanitarian. We are also grateful to the three industry representatives, who will also provide a forum for lively discussion.”

Her Majesty Queen Noor’s work across the Arab World has focused on education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding. Initiatives such as the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, King Hussein Foundation and King Hussein Foundation International – all of which she chairs – have transformed development thinking in Jordan and wider Middle East.

Julia Bacha is a New York-based Brazilian film maker, whose work has been exhibited at film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin and Dubai. Her award-winning documentary ‘Encounter Point’ (2006) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006, and went on to win major awards at festivals around the world.

Mike Medavoy is an American film producer and chairman and CEO of Phoenix Pictures that has recently released, amongst others, All the King’s Men (starring Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins and Mark Ruffalo) by Steven Zaillian, Zodiac (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo) by David Fincher and Miss Potter (starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor) by Chris Noonan. His in-production titles include Shutter Island, a film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Shanghai, starring John Cusack.

MIT neuroscientist Rebecca Saxe joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty as an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and specializes in social cognition probing mechanisms of judgement and belief to understand how people interpret other people’s thoughts.

Shamil Idriss is Chief Executive Officer of Soliya, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people to use new media tools to advance social change and improve cross-cultural understanding within and between their societies. Idriss was appointed Deputy Director of the UN Alliance by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005 and continues to serve as Senior Advisor to the initiative and has served as the Senior Adviser for Islamic-Western Relations Programs for the international conflict resolution organization.

An integral part of DIFF since its inception, the Cultural Bridge programme explores ways to unite all nationalities, which is exemplified in the core slogan of the festival - ‘Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds’. Participants take into consideration the significant changes taking place globally, and the role cinema can play in articulating the shifts in economic and political influence.

DIFF 2009 will show 168 films from 55 countries between December 9 and 16, drawn from all corners of the globe, but with particular emphasis on Arabia, Asia and Africa.

DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). Full listings of films can be accessed via the DIFF website ( and downloaded on to your mobile phone.

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