The fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), which will run from December 9-16, will see the launch of several new initiatives that will boost the image of both the festival as well as Dubai.
The critically-acclaimed thriller MICHAEL CLAYTON will open this year's festival. Lead actor George Clooney will attend the star-studded Opening Night Gala.
While the event will play host to several celebrities from different parts of the world, it has also launched initiatives to give Arab filmmakers a special space at this festival.
Two segments, titled Emirati Voices and Arabian Nights will focus on Arab cinema. The former will specifically screen films by UAE filmmakers while Arabian Nights will showcase films from the Middle East or those that focus on Arabs and the Arab world. This segment comprises 19 films, including four world premieres.
"This year, we expanded the number of films in Emirati Voices from five to nine because there were many well made films. We also changed the title to Emirati Voices from Emerging Emiratis because the films we received this year were not films from 'emerging' talents, but rather fully developed voices that were pushing to be heard. They are sophisticated in story-telling and cinematography, and offer a fascinating view into Emirati life."
With regards to the Arabian Nights, Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch's Whatever Lola Wants will open this segment. There is an impressive cross section of films from Algeria, features exploring the life of Arabs post 9/11and several others.
The Arabian Nights segment this year, however, will have only one documentary, titled Ladies, Women, Citizens. This follows five women from very different segments of Lebanese society, discussing their own dreams and the hopes they cherish for their country's future.
DIFF also has an exciting lineup of children's movies this year including Bee Movie, The Peace Tree, Viva Cuba, Quamer, Hands off Mississippi and Summer Days With Coo. As part of this segment, DIFF will also host an animation workshop for children.
For the first time this year, DIFF also conducted a 'OneMinutesJr' video production workshop for youth in Mumbai, with plans for future sessions in Dubai and Cairo, in partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). More initiatives will be announced closer to the date of the festival.
"We know from the massive public response to DIFF that audiences in the Emirates are hungry for lesser-known films that may not necessarily reach commercial cinemas," said Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of DIFF. "We are confident this initiative will expose viewers to new tastes and to a filmmaking community that deserves recognition for its talent and vitality."