The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has announced that three feature films by Arab filmmakers, supported by DIFF’s Dubai Film Market (DFM), will showcase at the 40th Toronto Film Festival (TIFF), running from September 10th to September 20th, 2015.
The line-up includes acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu Assad, whose Golden Globe winning feature ‘Paradise Now’ opened DIFF in 2005. He most recently opened the festival’s 10th edition with ‘Omar’, which garnered Abu Assad his second Oscar nomination. This year, the filmmaker returns to the screen with the biopic ‘The Idol’, which tells the true story of Arab Idol's 2013 winner Mohammad Assaf.
Supported by Enjaaz, the Dubai Film Market’s post-production and production financing programme that has funded more than 100 films since its inception, 'The Idol' will receive a special presentation at TIFF.
Also on the line-up is award-winning Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri’s ‘3000 Nights’, also supported by Enjaaz and a past project in the DFM’s Interchange programme. The film - inspired by the true stories of the children who were born in Israeli prisons and the young girls coming of age behind bars - will enjoy its world premiere in TIFF’s ‘World Contemporary Cinema’ section.
Finally, Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid's first feature ‘As I Open My Eyes’, which was presented at the DFM’s co-production market the Dubai Film Connection (DFC) in 2013, will be showcased in TIFF’s “World Contemporary Cinema” section. Set on the eve of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, the film follows an up-and-coming underground band as they are pulled in all directions by creative energy, authoritarian oppression, and rebellion.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF artistic director commented: “We are delighted and extremely proud to have supported three highly talented Arab filmmakers who have been selected to showcase their work to international audiences at one of the most sought after slots in the film industry calendar. Over the past 12 years we have witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of incredible and powerful films from both emerging and established filmmakers that has resulted in many Arab films transcending borders and gaining international recognition at festivals and accolades around the world.”
The DIFF team will also head to TIFF to help promote Arab talent at the high profile event, as well as select must-see films for UAE audiences to experience at this year’s festival which runs from December 9th – December 16th, 2015.