The 14th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, takes place this month from December 6 – 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah, the home of DIFF.
This year the festival introduces audiences to the most highly anticipated new films from around the world, alongside a diverse events programme at the Dubai Film Market featuring some of the most creative talents working in the industry today.
The festival will screen a total of 140 films from 51 countries spanning feature, non-fiction and short films, including an astonishing 50 world and international premieres and 81 MENA premieres. The films, crafted in more than 38 languages, populate DIFF’s Arab and Emirati competitions and its out-of-competition segments dedicated to children, the Arab world, Virtual Reality and cinema from around the globe.
With 16 Galas and 14 Special Presentations announced, the Festival offers a compelling combination of red carpet glamour and a journey of film discovery and cultural exchange for film lovers.
With Q&As and special appearances from a stellar lineup of industry talent, and the spotlight firmly on Oscar hopefuls as well as promising Arab talent, the stage is set for another unforgettable eight-day celebration of the very best in cinema.
Continuing to provide a platform for talent from the region, once again this year a high calibre of contemporary Arab films will compete in the Muhr Competition. The Muhr Awards are an opportunity to highlight the enormous wealth of talent working in Arab cinema today, both behind and in front of the camera. The DIFF 2017 selection comprises 60 biopics, comedies, dramas and love stories from the Arabian Peninsula, Levant and North Africa.
This year, DIFF’s Opening Night Gala on Wednesday 6th December presents award-winning actor, writer and director, Scott Cooper’s Western masterpiece, ‘Hostiles’, starring Christian Bale, and Rosamund Pike. Set in 1892, ‘Hostiles’ tells the story of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. Making the harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico, to the grasslands of Montana, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Rosamund Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains. Together, they must join forces to overcome the punishing landscape,hostile Comanche and vicious outliers that they encounter along the way.
Closing the curtain will be one of the most anticipated releases of the year, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’. The latest instalment of the epic fantasy makes its return to DIFF with the next chapter in the Skywalker saga and will premiere on 13th December, at the Madinat Jumeirah, the home of DIFF. Written and directed by acclaimed helmer, Rian Johnson, the film features an interstellar cast of rising stars and old favourites, including Carrie Fisher in her final role. In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. With pre-release buzz at fever pitch, the word on the intergalactic grapevine is that this is set to be one of the strongest editions of the franchise yet as the battle between the light and the dark side rages on. The all-star cast includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
An acclaimed jury headed up by Academy Award winning actress and IWC Schaffhausen brand ambassador Cate Blanchett will determine the potential of each film project and select the winner. Joining Cate Blanchett will be IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr, DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma, Tunisian actress and IWC brand ambassador Hend Sabri and DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali. The award will be presented to the winning filmmaker at an exclusive gala event on Thursday 7th December at the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai.
DIFF is also proud to continue its partnership with The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Interior for the fourth year running. The Ministry of Interior’s Cinema Award, which comprises a prize of $100,000, will be presented at the Festival.
Running concurrently with DIFF, the Dubai Film Market (DFM) is a vital part of the Festival and now considered the leading industry platform in the region and a gateway to the one of the fastest growing film and TV markets in the world. Since its inception, the DFM has supported more than 300 filmmakers and has brought films to the screen that have gone on to enjoy critical acclaim and find new audiences across the globe.
The DFM’s co-production market The Dubai Film Connection celebrates its tenth edition with 13 projects in development competing for a wide array of awards including ART, Cinescape & Front Row Filmed Entertainment, The Hideaway Entertainment Award and Le Centre National de Cinema.
Throughout the week festival goers can choose from 28 industry-orientated talks, panel discussions, masterclasses and events featuring some of the biggest names in global cinema, sharing their insights, perspectives and experience with the Forum.
The programme includes ‘Women at the Helm’, presented in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The special panel will feature visionary, award-winning female directors including Kimberly Peirce, Haifaa Al Mansour, Niki Caro and Dee Rees. In addition, John Bailey, the newly elected President of AMPAS will share his experience on ‘The Art of Cinematography’.
DIFF’s much loved open-air screenings in partnership with Meraas return to THE BEACH, opposite JBR, with a choice of top international and regional films screened on a vast outdoor screen – for free. On the Festival’s opening night, December 6th, film fans will be able to watch all the action from the red carpet live as it unfolds. THE BEACH will then go on to host the premiere of renowned Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s latest acclaimed feature, ‘Beyond the Clouds’ that dwells on the adoration of love, life and human relationships starring theatre actress Malavika Mohanan and Ishaan Khatter.
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