The seventh Dubai International Film Festival (Dec 12 – 19) features 41 world premieres and is bookended by The King’s Speech and Tron: Legacy.

Sean Penn, Souleymane Cisse and Lebanese singer Sabah will receive lifetime achievement awards.

Among the 157 titles 13 are international premieres, 58 Middle East premieres and 32 Gulf premieres.

Festival attendees will include Colin Firth, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Peter Weir, Andrey Konchalovsky, Jean Reno, Carey Mulligan and Arab stars Khaled Abol Naga, Bushra, Nelly Karim, Saba Mubarak, Ayman Zeidan, Samar Sami and Raghda.

Weir will be present for the gala screening of The Way Back, while Andrey Konchalovsky and Julia Vysotskaya are guests for the Cinema for Children gala screening of The Nutcracker in 3D.

There are further gala screenings for 678, Cairo Exit, Tomorrow Will Be Better and Reign Of Assassins.

The 41 world premieres represents a 30 percent growth from last year and is testament to the growing ambition of the festival, which is set to house the biggest film market in the Arab world, comprising the established co-production market Dubai Film Connection, networking and funding hub the Dubai Film Forum, post-production support programme Enjaaz, and Dubai Filmmart, previously known as the Dubai Film Market, specialising in content trade, acquisition and distribution.

Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of Dubai International Film Festival said: “The seventh edition of the Dubai International Film Festival film festival will be extra special not only for the powerful showcase of movies from around the world and impressive talent line-up of globally acclaimed actors and directors, but also for the largest selections of quality, contemporary Arab cinema anywhere in the world.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s artistic director, said: “I believe that our programming this year not only offers something for everyone, it also offers new, very interesting, unusual and surprising films. If I could choose one word to describe our 2010 programme, it would be “discovery.” We have discoveries of new talents, new styles and new collaborations.

“I am proud of the fine crop of Arab cinema we have this year and the exceedingly talented UAE filmmakers included in our line-up, and I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who wants to better understand this country and our region experience it,” he continued.