Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dubai Film Festival Opens Wednesday

With all the publicity about the financial difficulties and huge debts of Dubai, one of the seven Arab Emirates, I began to wonder if their international film festival would be held this year. Word came yesterday that it is indeed on, and the 6th edition will open this Wednesday, 9 December, for the usual seven-day run, ending on the 16th.

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is a non-competitive festival. The main purpose is to showcase contemporary and classic global cinema, exhibit their invited guests, and raise money for charity. This is their third year to host the Cinema Against AIDS Dubai, a gala to raise funds for AmfAR. That's the charity Elizabeth Taylor founded in honor of the late actor Rock Hudson and others.

There are, however, obvious signs of cut-backs. Last year over 400 films were shown. There were lavish parties and huge cash prizes. This year, the film list has been cut to something over 170 from 55 countries, which is more inline with some other festivals. The approach this year is that the films are culturally diverse, providing movies for all ages and tastes. Plus, there are several package deals, providing an easy way to choose films, find significant cost savings for movie enthusiasts, and orders may be placed online.

There will be the usual cadre of film stars and directors. The opening night gala movie will be Rob Marshall’s NINE, starring Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren. Marshall directed CHICAGO, which garnered six Oscars®, including Best Picture. He also directed MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, and is scheduled to direct the next installment of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

To make sure there will be plenty of glitz with the glam, the festival has partnered with world-renowned Cartier as the Official Jeweler. France is the country In Focus this year. Children’s favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks return with their "Squeakquel" for the Cinema for Children section, and Disney will bring THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. The Festival will host it's first-ever Acting for the Camera Workshop for school students, presented by Dubai Pearl, and it is open to school children ages 11 through 17. All sections help emphasize this year's "something for everyone" theme.

For much more in English, including how to get updates on your mobile phone, click the title of this post and visit their Official Website. Click for Arabic.

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