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DIFFPress Releases 2017Eleven Acclaimed Features Added to DIFF’s Cinema of The World Lineup
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Eleven Acclaimed Features Added to DIFF’s Cinema of The World Lineup
Tue Nov 14, 2017
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More than 140 films from around the world are set to dazzle DIFF audiences this December

Dubai, 14 November 2017: Eleven of this year’s most anticipated releases from across the globe have been added to the Cinema of the World lineup at the 14th edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). Running from 6–13 December, the star-studded programme features acclaimed films from globally recognized filmmakers and actors that will entertain and educate DIFF’s diverse audiences.

From Indonesian director and screenwriter Kamila Andini, who will make her DIFF debut this December, comes ‘The Seen and the Unseen’. Her second feature film, it tells the heart-wrenching story of ten-year-old fraternal twins Tantri and her brother Tantra. Faced with the critical illness of her brother, who remains secluded in a hospital bed, and a future without him by her side, Tantri takes refuge in her imagination. After meeting imaginary Tantra at the playground that evening, Tantri embarks on a magical and emotional journey, fleeting between reality and imagination, loss and hope.

From Danish filmmaker Janus Metz Pedersen comes the highly anticipated tennis drama ‘Borg vs. McEnroe’ starring Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason and Stellan Skarsgard. The film dives into the intense real-life rivalry between iconic tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe as they compete for the Wimbledon title in 1980. At first, the two appear to be complete opposites; Borg is as stoic as McEnroe is temperamental. However, as the film explores Borg’s obsessions and superstitions as a way of controlling his anger, the audience wonders – is it possible that the rivals have more in common than everyone believes?

French director Xavier Legrand brings his feature directorial talent to DIFF with ‘Custody’, an intense family drama centred around a bitter and lengthy custody battle. Having received the Silver Lion for Best Director and the Luigi de Laurentiis – Lion of the Future for a Debut Film at the Venice Film Festival, ‘Custody’ tells the story of Miriam and Antoine Besson. Now divorced, Miriam is seeking sole custody of their son, Julien, to protect him from his allegedly violent father. However, when the court rules in Antoine’s favour for joint custody, it thrusts Julien into the centre of the escalating family conflict and he is pushed to the edge to prevent the worst from happening.

Saudi Arabia’s pioneering and acclaimed director Haifaa Al Mansour returns to DIFF with her second feature, ‘Mary Shelley’, the story of the love affair that gave birth to one of the greatest thriller novels of all time. Starring Elle Fanning and Game of Thrones alumna Maisie Williams, ‘Mary Shelley’ follows 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin as she embarks on a relationship with poet Percy Shelley and finds inspiration for Frankenstein’s monster.

Making his debut at DIFF is Academy Award-nominated actor, writer, producer and director Rob Reiner with ‘Shock & Awe’, which premiered at Zurich International Film Festival to thundering applause and two separate standing ovations. The feature takes a real-life look at a group of journalists who uncovered the unsubstantiated claims by the President George W. Bush’s administration that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Featuring a stellar cast, including Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson, Academy Award-winner Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden, Jessica Biel, Mila Jovovich and Rob Reiner himself, the film is a hard look at journalistic integrity and the fight for truth in the face of “weapons of mass destruction”.

From acclaimed filmmaker Simon Curtis comes a unique biopic on the life of A.A. Milne and the beloved Winne the Pooh characters in ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’. Starring celebrated actress Margot Robbie and Harry Potter alumnus Domhnall Gleeson, ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ takes place in the devastated, post-war Britain of the 1920s, and tells the heart-breaking story of how the fame and success of the Winnie the Pooh series lifted a nation while burdening the Milne family and their son, Christopher Robin.

Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Hamzei makes his directorial debut with the feature ‘Azar’. A motocross enthusiast and pizza lover, Azar is not a conventional Iranian wife. Confident and capable, Azar is committed to the fledgling pizza restaurant she runs with her husband, Amir. But, when a terrible tragedy puts Amir in prison and threatens the future of the business, Azar is forced to make a difficult decision. Starring Iranian actress, director and screenwriter Niki Karimi, ‘Azar’ is a forceful, deeply felt snapshot of gender inequality in contemporary Iran.

From Hollywood actor, writer, producer and director James Franco comes the celebrated ‘The Disaster Artist’. Receiving standing ovations when it premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier in the year, it also brought home the 65th San Sebastián Festival’s Golden Shell, the top prize at the biggest film event in the Spanish-speaking world. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ from 2003, an undoubtedly awful film – named the ‘Citizen Kane of bad films’ by Entertainment Weekly – that has become one of the most beloved cult classics of all time. Franco stars as the eccentric and misunderstood Wiseau, while his brother Dave Franco plays opposite as Wiseau’s friend and reluctant co-star, Greg Sestero, upon whose novel the film is based. Funny man Seth Rogen takes on the role of Wiseau’s bizarre script supervisor and co-produces the film with Franco.

Australian director Craig Gillespie and Hollywood icon Margot Robbie have teamed up in this unique biopic on the life of Tonya Harding, ‘I Tonya’. Robbie produced the film and stars as the titular character, who was one of America’s most successful figure skaters and the first American female skater to complete a triple axel while competing in 1991. Yet, her success on the ice hides a difficult personal life as she faces an abusive mother, played by acclaimed actress Allison Janney, and unabashed media criticizing her unconventional “trailer park” beauty. The dynamic leads are joined by Sebastian Stan, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson.

Joining del Toro is Greek Academy Award-nominated director Yorgos Lanthimos with ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’. With an acclaimed cast including Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, the jarring tale follows Steven, a charismatic surgeon who is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice, after the acts of the teenage boy he has taken under his wing become sinister. The feature has received critical praise since its debut, including being awarded Best Screenplay at Cannes International Film Festival and nominated for three European Film Awards.

‘Hunting Season’, the debut feature film from Argentinian director Natalia Garagiola, made waves with its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, taking home audience choice for Best Film and the Critics’ Week Prize. In Patagonia, a respected hunting guide is suddenly faced with the education of his biological son, who was recently expelled from school. In a wild environment, the father tames his son and teaches him how to respect nature and human relationships.

DIFF’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali commented on the selection of films: “Cinema of the World is one of DIFF’s most loved and celebrated categories, as it brings some of the year’s most anticipated global releases to the region. But it’s not just a category for Hollywood blockbusters and box office heavyweights. Cinema of the World is an opportunity for us to showcase the amazing work coming from every corner of the globe.”

Cinema of The World Director Nashen Moodley added: “This truly is a multi-cultural category and brings together an amazing, rich and colourful array of cinema to the UAE. With such a diverse range of styles and stories on offer, it’s no wonder this is always a popular segment of DIFF.”

Ticket packages for the 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival which will take place from 6 – 13 December, 2017 and tickets for the Forum are on sale now.
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