Toronto festival favourite Laila's Birthday from Palestinian filmmaker Rashid Masharawi will also have its Middle Eastern premiere at the festival. The film, about a father who tries to make his daughter's birthday memorable amid the daily chaos in Palestine, will also screen a the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
The films are Magdi Ahmed Ali's Fawzia: A Special Blend from Egypt, Amr Salama's On A Day Like Today from Egypt, Remon Butros' Haseeba from Syria, Samir Habashi's Beirut Open City from Lebanon, Mohammed Alsharif Al Taribeq's Time Of Comrades from Morocco, and Saleh Karama's Henna from UAE.
The Egyptian documentary Bid You Farewell from Mohammed Kamel El Kaliouby will premiere in the international documentary section.
Executive director Nashwa Al Ruwaini also announced that major Arab stars are confirmed to attend the festival in support of the films including Syrian actress Sulaf Fawakherji from Haseeba, Egyptian actresses Elham Shaheen, Ghada Abdel Razaq and Hala Sadqi and actors Fathi Abdel Wahab and Ezzat Abu Ouf from Khalta Fawziya, Lebanese actress Serene Abdel Noor and Egyptian actor Khaled Al Nabawi from Smoke Without Fire, and Palestinian stars Mohammed Bakri and Areen Omari from Laila's Birthday alongside a new and rising faces like Egyptian actors Basma and Ahmed Al Fishawi and Asser Yassin from Zay Al Naharda.
The festival will also host a photo exhibition dedicated to the late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine.
'The exhibition contains 100 frames of tens of rare photos and rare artifacts that will be held in one of the halls of the Emirates Palace and which was prepared in Cairo by a team of experts in film exhibitions,' said Al Ruwaini.
Vice Chairman of the festival, Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei called Chahine 'one of the greatest symbols of Arabic cinema in the world in close to half a century.'
Artist Naji Shaker designed each of the 100 frames while MEIFF creative team will organize the design and lighting of the exhibition.