Opening Night Gala on Wednesday will screen the MENA premiere of Western epic Hostiles
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) starts on Wednesday, with organisers saying the 14th editions will be bigger and better than ever.
Over eight days, DIFF will showcase an eclectic selection of films and tell stories from diverse cultures, with a total of 140 films in more than 38 languages from 51 countries, including 50 world premieres and international premieres and 81 MENA premieres.
Growing year on year since its inception in 2004, DIFF has cemented its status as one of the region’s premiere film festivals, a statement said.
The Opening Night Gala on Wednesday will screen the MENA premiere of Scott Cooper’s Western epic Hostiles. Starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi, the movie follows the journey of a legendary Army Captain who reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to tribal lands.
A fan favourite, the free public open-air screenings at THE BEACH, will kick off with renowned Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s latest feature, Beyond the Clouds on Wednesday. Filmed in India, the film dwells on the adoration of love, life and nuanced human relationships, starring theatre actress, Malavika Mohana and Ishaan Khatter.
The Dubai International Film Festival will share four awards at its Opening Ceremony. The first Honorary Award will be given to renowned Egyptian writer Wahid Hamed, for his decades-spanning career which has left a lasting impact on cinema in Egypt and across the region.
The second Honorary Award goes to iconic British actor Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, a stalwart of stage, television and film for almost six decades while a third award will be given to acclaimed Indian actor Irrfan Khan, a significant figure in Indian film and television since the early 1990s.
The fourth and final award will be presented to two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.
Starting on December 6, Dubai Film Market (DFM) will create opportunities for filmmakers to forge partnerships with film and TV professionals from around the world. To date, DFM has helped bring more than 300 projects from script to screen, supporting burgeoning talent and raising the profile of the Arab world’s flourishing cinema landscape.
DIFF’s chairman, Abdulhamid Juma, said: “Central to the festival is its ability to bring film fans, international stars and growing talent from across the region together over eight-days, to enjoy the magic of cinema and support the prosperity of this unique industry that brings joy to so many.
"Supporting budding filmmakers, actors and directors - whether through funding from our partners, networking with other industry representatives or access to acclaimed international talent - is something we are incredibly proud to be able to achieve year on year, and we look forward to seeing inspiration and connections flourish over the coming days.”
Other highlights of the eight-day celebration include a second year of the Arab Stars of Tomorrow initiative. Launched at the 13th edition, the 2017 instalment will once again help nurture and showcase burgeoning talent from across the Arab World.
The 14th edition of DIFF will see films screened at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena, Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah and VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates and THE BEACH – opposite JBR. Cinemagoers can buy tickets from the DIFF box office, which is now open www.dubaifilmfest.com and at the box office at VOX Cinemas Mall of the Emirates.
Tickets are also now available from the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah and from the Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah on Wednesday.