Lights, camera, action! The red carpet is revived, velvet curtains are raised, trumpets are blown and the drums roll to the beat of glitzy Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) that sets the stage for week of films from Dec.8 to 16.
Legends of the silver screen, established and emerging filmmakers, film admirers, actors and actresses, and a diverse array of industry professionals descend on the plains of Dubai for the ninth DIFF.
As one of the Emirates’ most anticipated events, the Festival brings star-studded eight-day galas, including appearances from esteemed international, regional and local celebrities, high-caliber award ceremonies, interactive workshops and a plethora of industry forums, alongside the spectacular line up of 158 films from every corner of the globe.
In a statement on DIFF’s website (www.dubaifilmfest.com), Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said, “Year after year, the Festival attracts such a high level of films and filmmakers and I’m delighted to say that the 9th year is no different. With a line-up of 158 films from 61 countries in 43 languages, there is something for everyone at this year’s DIFF.”
The realms of DIFF echoes the essence of “bridging the cultures” between industry professionals from all over the world and to further inspire, encourage and nurture the future generation of filmmakers, Juma added.
Also in tinsel town for DIFF is the Arab film artist Dana Dajani, who has attended the event for the past three years. With a “great experience” she perceives the event as a global platform to exhibit Arab film talents at an international scale.
Amongst the waves of international movies from India, Bangladesh there is arrays of Arab films that narrate the human stories. The concept of ‘bridging the cultures’ Dajani said does absolutely wonders to the mind as you leave your world and see the vision from an artist’s lens.
“In today’s world, we need more and more empathy, we want people to have less fear and find more familiarities because we all are looking to be accepted,” she told Al Arabiya.
DIFF attracts thousands of filmgoers, who are eager to learn different perspectives, study new cultures and new forms of expression through the medium of film. During the Festival, fans will have the opportunity to meet filmmakers and cast members during in-depth Q&A sessions.
It stages a valuable platform for the film students and young film enthusiasts that provide an opportunity to understand the art of cinema.
Majid Al Ansari, a young Emirati freelance filmmaker, said that local filmmakers are overwhelmed with obstacles, Gulf Business online reported on Dec.10.
“From my personal experience in the UAE, finding a good script is my biggest challenge,” he explained. “Funding is available but only distributed to those who have a unique vision with a compelling story to tell.
“With that in mind, we as Emirati filmmakers also have to be realistic with the budgets we ask for. The reality is that our market isn’t big enough for big budget films, so $500,000-700,000 dollars would be a budget that I would go for in a feature film,” he said.
Masters film student at University of Toronto, Teyama al-Kamli, said that the “presence of DIFF is significant in the region as it offers educational and rare platform to film students.
The learning experience at DIFF enriches one’s movie mechanisms because it offers an exceptional venue that allows one to observe film from a perspective of students, Kamli added.
During the opening ceremony, DIFF presented its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards to veteran Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdul Aziz and prolific British director Michael Apted. The Festival will close on Dec. 16th with the much-awaited Muhr Awards ceremony.
Emirati stars walking the red-carpet include Reem Erahma, Jaber Naghmoush, Habib Gholoum, Haifa Hussein and Mansour Al Feeli.
From the Arab World celebrities walking the red carpet include: Haya Abdul Salam, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Poussy Shalaby, Nelly, Shirine, Amir Karara, Caroline Khalil, Ezzat Abu Ouf, Ghada Adel amongst other celebrates artists.
Celebrities sailing on the red carpet include Academy Award-winning actress and Head of the Jury for the IWC Filmmaker Award Cate Blanchett, Suraj Sharma, Freida Pinto, Michael Apted and Ana Ivanovic.
The opening red carpet and ceremony of the festival was held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, at Madinat Jumeirah.