Star-studded line-up for Dubai International Film Festival revealed
The organisers of the ninth Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) announced a feast for moviegoers yesterday with 161 films from 61 countries in 43 languages - 52 of them will be world premieres.
Tickets for the festival go on sale today with the event promising something for everyone during eight days of film viewing and star-gazing.
The festival begins on December 9 with Academy Award Winner Ang Lee’s long-awaited 3D adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel ‘Life of Pi’.
The other big offerings include the Arabian premieres of ‘Bekas’ (Orphan) from director Karzan Kadar and ‘Wadjda’, a movie about a young girl in Saudi Arabia who challenges her culture, from director Haiffa Al Mansour.
Other galas include ‘Hitchcock’ starring Antony Hopkins and Helen Mirren, the 3D adventure ‘Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away’ and director Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or movie ‘Amour’.
The gala premiere in the Asia Africa programme is World War II epic ‘Back to 1942’ from director Feng Xiaogang and the highlight of the children’s afternoon galas is set to be the world premiere of the magical adventure ‘Journey to the Christmas Star’.
The closing film, ‘Sapphires’, is based on the true 1960s story of Aboriginal sisters who fail to win a talent contest because of racism. When the sisters see an advertisement for entertainers for troops in Vietnam they go off to the war zone.
Last year’s festival was surrounded by Hollywood hype with the world premiere of ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ and the arrival of Tom Cruise on the red carpet.
This year, according to DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma, it’s all about the movies not the A-list stars.
He said: “Over the past nine years, DIFF has become a festival renowned not only in the UAE and the Arab world but across the globe. “This year I truly feel we are presenting one of our strongest line-ups ever, bringing together filmmakers and fans to watch a remarkable variety of films from around the world, many of which they are unlikely to see anywhere else.
“This year half our festival is dedicated to an exciting showcase of films, features and shorts from the Arab world. DIFF is a homegrown brand, deeply rooted in the UAE and we take great pride in our Arab heritage while striding to strengthen intercultural dialogue.
“I can guarantee that the diversity and uniqueness of this year’s festival line-up will provide unforgettable viewing experiences.” This year’s lifetime award will go to Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdul Aziz, who has appeared in more than 100 movies. He became a star in the 1980s when he acted in ‘Rafat El Haggan’, a TV series based on the true story of an Egyptian spy who was planted in Israel for more than 20 years. Aziz is currently working on the TV series ‘Bab El Khalk’, which is being screened in Egypt.
The second award will go to British director Michael Apted, best known for his work on the James Bond film ‘The World Is Not Enough’. His most recent feature film project was the ‘Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’.
As well as countless Arabic celebrities, the festival will be attended by internationally known stars including Academy Award winners Cate Blanchett, Kevin Spacey and Colin Firth. Musician Bryan Ferry will also be at the festival.
The box office opens online today at www.dubaifilmfest.com