DIFF organisers confirm programmer line-up

Dubai Film Festival '09 to feature more than a dozen themed segments.
Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF chairman.
Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF chairman.

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Organisers of the Dubai International Film Festival have confirmed the line-up of programmers for this year’s event, which will be staged from December 9 – 16.

This year’s festival will feature more than a dozen distinct themed segments including Arabian Nights, Gulf Voices, Cinema of the World, Cinema for Children, Cinema of AsiaAfrica, Lifetime Achievement and a diverse selection of Indian films.

The competitive Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica programmes will include new documentaries, features and shorts, and the In Focus section will this year highlight cinema from France.

The 2009 programmer line-up includes Sheila Whitaker (director, International Programme), Nashen Moodley (director, AsiaAfrica), Philip Cheah (consultant, AsiaAfrica), Dorothee Wenner (consultant, Subcontinent programme), Erfan Rashid (director, Arab Programme), Antonia Carver (consultant, Arab Programme), Myrna Maakaron (programmer, Cinema for Children) and Hannah Fisher (coordinator, Lifetime Achievement). Simon Field remains a consultant to the Festival.

A team of scouts including Suhasini Mani Ratnam and Bina Paul Venugopal (Indian cinema); Zeina Sfeir, Iman Al Omrani, Saeed Al Dhaheri and Khalid Al Mahmood (Arab cinema); Hiromi Aihara and Sheldon Kraiser (AsiaAfrica), will assist the programmers.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF artistic director, will lead the team of veteran film professionals. Al Ali, an accomplished filmmaker and UAE national, said: “The Dubai International Film Festival is recognised around the world for the quality of its programming, and the addition of more professionals with rich backgrounds will raise our standards even higher.”

“This year, we are incorporating the festival’s central theme of ‘Culture Bridge’ in all programmes, instead of limiting these vital culture-bridging films to one section alone,” he added.

Abdulhamid Juma, chairman, DIFF, said the new team of programmers is currently finalizing the selection of films for the DIFF 2009 edition. “While several of our programmers build on their accumulated experience in shaping DIFF’s current identity as a global showcase of movies, the new members will bring in innovation and increased cinematic sensibility,” he said.

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