Dubai’s Film Festival Raising Its International Profile

by Akhil Kalepu

Nov 12, 2016

Fog in Dubai, United Arab Emirates © Mohamed Kasim Naufal | Dreamstime

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The Dubai International Film Festival was first held in 2004 under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai and vice president of the U.A.E. The Dubai International Film Festival is important for the region as the leading industry event of the Middle East. Located in such an international city, DIFF attracts the top cinema talent from around the world, in addition to cultivating local film production through a variety of programs held during the week of the festival.


This year’s lineup is even more international than ever, screening films produced from all corners of the world. From Hollywood, we have Terrence Malick directing Voyage of Time, a documentary about the history of the universe, narrated by Brad Pitt in the IMAX version and Cate Blanchett in the 35mm format. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone will also be making appearances as the stars of La La Land, a musical exploring the struggles of finding success in Hollywood.


From across the pond comes Ken Loach, who is bringing his critically acclaimed I, Daniel Blake, which won the top prize at Cannes earlier this year. South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk will be screening The Net, a thought-provoking film about a North Korean fisherman who finds himself caught by military in Southern waters. Keeping with the political subject matter is Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and Hissein Habré: A Chadian Tragedy, a non-fiction film about victims of the dictator.


DIFF will also be honoring burgeoning writers with the Young Journalists Awards, providing internships at Gulf News to help break them into the industry. The festival is also honoring the famed Bollywood actress Rekha, who has starred in more than 180 films throughout her career.



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