Dazzling start to the 2016 Dubai International Film Festival
By : Kerry Baggott
Wed Dec 7, 2016
There were lights (bright ones), cameras (flashing ones) and all the glamourous action on the red carpet last night for the opening of DIFF 2016.
The media started to hover at around 5pm at the Jumeirah Madinat Arena, home of DIFF determined to get the first shots of the star-studded line up of actors, directors and filmmakers. Yet they were soon vying for pole position when joined by a mass of film fans and celebrity spotters – whom for many this is THE week of the year they just cannot miss.
Around 7.15pm the first celebs touched down, but from then on the wait was rewarded with a steady flow of names.
Accompanied by his wife was American film icon Samuel L Jackson who, looking suave and relaxed, was generous with his time as he worked his way along the lineup of journalists and camera crew giving a stream of interviews and even posing for selfies.
“I’m really pleased to finally get to this film festival – I’ve been trying to get here for a long time,” he said.
When asked if he would ever film a movie here in Dubai, he responded without hesitation: “I hope so. We were just talking about this today.”
Setting the cameras alive was the leading couple of the Indian film making its world premiere at DIFF tonight (8th December), Befikre. Ranveer Singh (playing the role of Dharam) did most of the talking while clad in a Musketeer-style cloak (which, to quote, was “Viviane Westwood apparently”), while his stunning co-star Vaani Kapoor (playing Shyra Gill) stood beside him looking demure in a floor-length emerald green.
“This film festival is so spectacular and it’s an incredible feeling that Befikre is going to be showing here tomorrow night,” regaled Singh.
Claiming to be the guest of Dubai’s much-loved Emirati film maker Ali Mostafa, was American Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, actor and author Tyrese Gibson of Fast and Furious fame.
“I’m here to support my brother Ali Mostafa. He’s very talented and I love what he’s doing for the culture here. There are a lot of creative people in the Middle East and the UAE specifically and Ali is creating new standards and being an advocate for creativity in the film space.”
As the face behind the evening’s opening film, director John Madden (Exotic Marigold Hotel) was rightfully proud as he waxed lyrical about his timely political thriller Miss Sloane, which has already garnered much critical acclaim following its recent release in the US.
“I’m very excited. I’ve never been to Dubai before so it’s a real thrill. It’s an incredible honour to be here and to be a part of the opening film. It’s not a movie that people will forget in a rush and it’s timely having collided with such a particular political moment in time,” he said.
He was joined by American actor Jake Lacy who plays the part of Forde in the film.
Making their way along the carpet, the crowd took their seats in the Madinat Arena for the international premiere – which judging by the applause as the credits rolled was positively received.
The evening continued at the Madinat resort’s Fort Island where after party played out under the stars until way after midnight. Open to invitees only, this wasn’t an invitation you were going to pass on with movie fans rubbing shoulders with stars of the regional and global screens.