9th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) Sets The Stage For A Thrilling Week Of Films and Packed Events For Industry Professionals

Over 160 films from 61 countries, in 43 languages featuring 52 World Premieres, 14 International Premieres, 73 Middle East Premieres and 17 GCC Premieres

The ninth Dubai International Film Festival, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, today revealed an exciting line-up of 161 feature films, shorts and documentaries from around the world cementing DIFF’s reputation as the leading Festival in the region.

DIFF embarks on 8 days of the very best of film, industry events and star-gazing red-carpets with Academy Award Winners Ang Lee’s long-awaited 3D adaptation of the hugely popular Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi opening the Festival on Sunday, 9th December.

This year’s DIFF promises to offer something for everyone, with a selection of diverse films, from sneak previews of giant-budget Hollywood films to independent films that are breaking new ground, films from first-time filmmakers though to the greatest directors of all time.

From December 9 to 16, the Festival’s nightly red carpet gala screenings will see the Arabian premieres of the critically acclaimed film Bekas from Karzan Kadar and the culturally groundbreaking Wadjda by Haiffa Al Mansour. The Cinema of the World galas include some of the most anticipated films of the year including Hitchcock, starring Award Winners Antony Hopkins and Helen Mirren, the 3D adventure Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or masterpiece Amour and the triumphant true story The Sapphires which will close the Festival. The Gala premiere representing the Asia Africa Programe is World War II Epic Back to 1942 from prolific director Feng Xiaogang. DIFF’s afternoon gala for younger film fans is the World Premiere of the magical adventure Journey to the Christmas Star.

Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of Dubai International Film Festival, said: “Over the last 9 years DIFF has become a festival renowned not only in the UAE and the Arab World, but across the globe. This year I truly feel we are presenting one of our strongest line-ups ever, bringing together filmmakers and fans to watch an remarkable variety of films from around the world, many of which they are unlikely to see anywhere else. This year half of our Festival is dedicated to an exciting showcase of films, features and shorts from the Arab world. DIFF is a home-grown brand, deeply rooted in the UAE and we take great pride in our Arab heritage whilst continuously striding to strengthen intercultural dialogue. I can guarantee that the diversity and uniqueness this year’s Festival line-up will provide unforgettable viewing experiences, and truly resonate with the multi-cultural community of Dubai.”

DIFF will present its Lifetime Achievement Awards to veteran Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdul Aziz and prolific British director Michael Apted, who have both made commendable contributions to the world of cinema and inspired countless of people through their body of work.

International celebrities flying into Dubai this December include: Academy Award winners Cate Blanchett, Colin Firth, Livia Firth, Frieda Pinto, Rooney Mara, Kirsten Davis, Amr Waked, Bryan Ferry, Suraj Sharma, Steve Oram, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jessica Mauboy, Shravanthi Sainath and Adil Hussain and Erica Linz.

A-list Arab celebrities gracing the red-carpet include: Laila Eloui, Nelly, Khaled El Nabawy, Ezzat Abu Ouf, Salah El Sadany, Hassan Hosny, Ghassan Masoud, Hany Ramzy, Mohamed Saad, Ahmed Rateb,  Ghada Adel, Ragaa Al Gedawy, Sherine Adel, Maxime Khalil, Yosra Ellozy, Amir Karara,  Sirine Abdel Nour, Nermine El Fikky, Caroline Khalil, Magdy El Hawary, Samer Ismael, Mehyar Khadour and Mounzer Rayhana.

And stars flocking to DIFF from the GCC include: Haya Abdulsalam, Jushoon, Ibrahim Al Habri, Souad Ali, Abdul Mohsen El Nemer, Salah Al-Mulla, Habib Ghuloom, Jaber Nagmoush, Abdulla Boushiri, Shimaa Ali, Zahra Arafat, Fatima Abdulrahim, Abdul Aziz Jassim, Mansour Al Feli, Mahmoud Bou Shahri,  Fatma Alsafi, Yacoub Alsalili, and Basem Abdulamir. In addition Ahmad Al Braiky, Hamad Al Omani, Asmahan, Jamal Al Radhan, Yacoub Abdalla, Somoud, Abeer Al Jundi, Faisal Alamery, Aseel Omran, Buthaina Al Raisi, Reem Arahma and Haifa Hussein.

Audiences will also have the unique opportunity to meet established filmmakers along with exciting new talent including: Wayne Blair, Khairy Beshara, Abdulatif Abdulhamid, Nour Eddine Lakhmari, Haiffa Al Masour, Stephan Archinard, Brian A. Miller, Brillante Mendoza, Saul Williams, Andrew Adamson, Aron Warner, Feng Xiaogang, Takashi Miike, Nishtha Jain and Mostofa Sarwar Farooki. 

The prestigious Muhr Awards have gone from strength to strength and this year will showcase a record number of films – an impressive 83 films will compete for over US$575, 000 in prize money across three categories – Muhr Emirati, Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica. The line-up this year was selected from 2,100 submissions from 115 countries and is considered to the most remarkable, competitive and diverse selection to date. Arabic features will also be eligible for a variety of prestigious global awards including the FIPRESCI International Prize of the Critics Award.

DIFF’s outstanding competition juries this year consists of world-famous filmmakers, industry decision makers and onscreen talent who will come together to help judge the Muhr Arab, Asia Africa Awards include: Michael Apted, Kerry Fox, Bruno Barreto, Chang Dong Lee, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, and Nayla Al Khaja. 

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director, said: “The scope and variety of the films at DIFF this year from the Arab world is staggering. A broad sweep of genres, stories, and subject matter shows the diversity of the region and the maturity of its cinema. Many of our entries are return visitors to DIFF, either in the Muhr Arab or Arabian Nights categories, and we pride ourselves on being able to nurture regional filmmaking by providing a platform for them to present their stories to the world.”

Extending DIFF’s commitment to nurturing emerging talent across the Region, Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett will join the jury to select the winner for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Award on December 10th, which offers a US$ 100,000 cash prize to one winning filmmaker.

Later in the week, Academy Award winning actor Colin Firth and his fashion entrepreneur wife Livia will be supporting the annual ‘One Night to Change Lives’ charity event to benefit Oxfam and Dubai Cares on December 14th. Last year’s event raised over USD 1 million, funding 14 regional schools and 10 schools in Pakistan.

The Dubai Film Market, the leading industry platform for Arab cinema and the business centre of the Festival will showcase a slate of 17 films during DIFF that have been supported by initiatives available through the DFM to achieve the ultimate – bringing their script to screen and this December they will present their films to DIFF audiences.

Throughout the week Festival goers can attend the wide range of workshops and panels during DIFF. Highlights include; The Broadcasters Day, Documentary Day and In Conversation events with established and up and coming filmmakers, industry professionals and leading journalists. There are also networking sessions for serious industry business, offering total script-to-screen support for emerging filmmakers, including talent development, co-production, post-production support and trade platform.

Shivani Pandya, DIFF Managing Director, said: “Every year we maintain such a high level of films and filmmakers and this year is no different. Over and above the 8 days of the Festival DIFF has grown to become so much more than a showcase of films and glamorous events. Dubai Film Market (DFM) is central to the Festival offer. Since 2005 we have supported over 170 films through our various initiatives providing real support to Arab filmmakers. The eclectic mix being showcased during DIFF are the heart and soul of the festival, while DFM is the energy which allows it to grow and prosper year after year.”

The DIFF box office will open online on Tuesday, November 27th at www.dubaifilmfest.com. 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.

Source = DIFF
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