The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF, December 6-14), which celebrates its tenth edition this year, will pay tribute to Arab cinema by opening with Hany Abu Assad’s Omar.
The acclaimed feature, starring Adam Bakri, Samer Bisharat, Eyad Hourani and Waleed Zuaiter, was supported by DIFF’s post-production and production funding support programme Enjaaz. Assad’s Paradise Now opened the second edition of DIFF.
As previously announced, David O Russell’s American Hustle will close the festival, which will screen a total of 174 features, shorts and documentaries, including 70 world premieres and 11 international premieres from 57 countries. The line-up includes more than 100 films from the Arab world, highlighting the growing film culture in the region,
Two red carpet galas will be held each day to celebrate the tenth edition – including Frozen, August: Osage County, Labor Day, Mohamed Khan’s Factory Girl, 12 Years A Slave, Fruitvale Station, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Saving Mr. Banks, Indian director Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, Out Of The Furnace, Laila Marrakchi’s Rock The Casbah, Words & Pictures and Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie.
Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Martin Sheen and veteran Egyptian film critic Samir Farid.
DIFF’s Muhr Awards will screen 90 films that will compete for more than $575,000 in prize money across three categories – Muhr Emirati, Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica.
Jim Sheridan will head the Muhr Arab Feature jury, while veteran Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah will lead the Muhr Arab Documentary category and Tony Rayns heads the Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary section. Acclaimed Tunisian director and screenwriter Nouri Bouzid will head the jury for the three categories of short films – Arab, AsiaAfrica and Emirati.
Cate Blanchett returns to Dubai for the second year to head the IWC Filmmaker Award jury.
The Dubai Film Market will showcase a slate of 20 films supported by Enjaaz and a further three films supported by Dubai Film Connection.
“When DIFF launched ten years ago, we had very sizeable goals and were full of the spirit that saw the astounding growth of Dubai over the same period. Since those early days, we have seen a surge in confidence in Arab cinema year on year, and DIFF is now the premiere platform for launching Middle Eastern films,” said DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma.
DIFF’s final screening will be The Mummy, directed by Chadi Abdel Salem, which topped the list in the recently-launched book of Arab Cinema, Cinema of Passion, highlighting the most important 100 films in the history of Arab cinema.