SHORT FILMS OFFER CINEMATIC BUFFET AT DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Tue Dec 04,2007
Dubai, December 4, 2007: Among the 141 films that will screen at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) next week, organizers urge audiences to attend two programs of short films from the Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema that provide brief, vivid windows into lives all over the Arab world and beyond.
The Muhr Awards competition is an important DIFF initiative in its second year that recognizes the best films in the categories of Features, Shorts and Documentaries. Winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes in the Shorts category will receive USD 30 000, 20 000 and 10 000, respectively.
Masoud Amralla al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director and Coordinator General of the Competition, encouraged viewers to try shorts for a change of pace:“Often shorts are perceived as lesser than feature films, but this is not a fair assessment. Short form cinema has been around since the beginning-the first motion picture screened in front of an audience was a short film. The two programs of shorts that we have chosen represent a long, difficult selection process precisely because the entries were so good. We eventually had to include 12 films in the competition this year instead of 10.
Each program offers a glimpse into another world, and represents months, if not years, of hard work on the part of the filmmakers, who often use their own money to fund their films. They are made for the love of filmmaking, not for glory.”
Programme 1 of the Muhr shorts is comprised of films from Palestine, France and Morocco, the UAE, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Etaar (A Frame) is a semi-silent Saudi short by Abdullah Al Eyaf about a man that is owned by his memories. El Ezz (Garbage), by Tunisian director Lotfi Achour, depicts lonely night watchman Mouneer, so in love with his pretty neighbour that he rifles through her garbage bin to find clues about her. Haresat al Ma’a (The Water Guard), set in the UAE, comes from director Waleed al Shehhi, and celebrates birth in a time of drought, while the Moroccan film Iqa’a (Percussion Kid) depicts a child punished for his love of percussion who sustains his love of rhythm until adulthood. Habl el Ghaseel (The Clothesline) is about a woman fighting her inner demons while imprisoned in her Ramallah apartment by the Israeli invasion in 2002, and Le Café des Pecheurs (The Fishermen’s Break) takes us to Morocco, where fisherman Mansour heads out to sea, disrupting the sleepy café life of wintertime Morocco.
Programme 2 starts with Sarah, by Belgian director Khdija Leclere, which follows a 30-year old woman who returns to meet her mother for the first and last time. Omar Mouldouira’s Vois-Moi (See Me), also from Morocco, depicts the twilight meeting in Casablanca between lonely Said and beautiful, lost Leila. Well-known UAE National actors Ibrahim Salem, Habib Ghuloom, Saeed Obaid and Ashjan (Umm Alawi from the Freej series) will accompany Abdullah Hassan Ahmad’s film Tenbak, which deals with racism in Emirati society in the story of two life-long friends. The script won last year’s UAE Film Awards at DIFF. L’Armee des Fourmis (Army of Ants), by Wissam Charaf, explores what is underfoot in South Lebanon, and Syrian director Ammar al Beik’s Jerusalem HD follows a girl surrounded by the graves of her ancestors who must find a way to escape the past. Al Beik and co-director Hala al Abdullah won the Bronze Muhr last year for I’m the One that Carries Flowers to her Grave. An experimental approach marks the last film, Canadian Samer Najari’s short Al Asfoor al Sagheer Sayataleq (Before the Wind Blows), which blends photography and cinema in the story of three people departing on suicide operations.
Muhr Awards screenings will take place throughout DIFF 2007, which runs from December 9 to 16, and the Award-winners programme will screen the Gold, Silver and Bronze trophy films on Sunday, 16 of December at Cinestar 1 at 18:00.
DIFF’s 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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