Gala Screenings to Watch at the Dubai International Film Festival 2017

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) will host a number of gala screenings featuring acclaimed films during the festival, which begins on December 6 at the Madinat Arena. Following the opening night, December 7 will see British director Dominic Cooke’s, On Chesil Beach, based on the 2007 Booker Prize-nominated novel by Ian McEwan. A second gala screening will follow, which will be Orchestra Class, a tale of new beginnings for a struggling violinist and the power of music from French actor and director Rachid Hami.

Gala Screenings at DIFF 2017


On Friday, December 8, it will be a triple-bill starting with the Children’s Gala with the animated film Ferdinand from legendary Brazilian director, Carlos Saldanha. The adventure-comedy centres around a fighting bull with an identity crisis, voiced by John Cena. Second on the roster is the critically appraised, The Death of Stalin, from Scottish-Italian filmmaker Armando Iannucci, who brings Soviet-era satire about one of the world’s most ruthless leaders. The evening will end with Australian director Warwick Thornton’s period-western Sweet Country, inspired by true events, boasting a stellar cast of Michael Palin, Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs and Jeffrey Tambor.

Gala Screenings at DIFF 2017


December 9 will also feature three galas, starting in the afternoon with Academy Award-nominated actor, writer, producer and director Rob Reiner’s Shock and Awe. It will take a real-life look at a group of journalists who uncovered the unsubstantiated claims by President George W. Bush’s administration that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This will be followed by family adventure Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, featuring a superstar cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black, and is directed by American television director Jake Kasdan. The final film of the night will be Hollywood hotshot James Franco’s, with the much celebrated The Disaster Artist, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room from 2003 — an undoubtedly awful film — that has become one of the most treasured cult classic of all time.

Gala Screenings at DIFF 2017


On December 10, it will be Mexican Director Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic fantasy The Shape of Water. The highly anticipated feature and winner of the Golden Lion Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival features the likes of Academy Award nominees Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins, and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer.

Gala Screenings at DIFF 2017


The gala on Monday, December 11, is acclaimed TV and film writer Khaled Diab’s latest feature, Induced Labor. After tireless attempts to obtain legitimate entry to the US fail, an Egyptian couple believes that storming the US embassy in Cairo and birthing their twins there will grant them citizenship, however not everything goes to plan in this raucous comedy. That will be followed by Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, from Academy Award winning British Filmmaker, Martin McDonagh. The Oscar front-runner starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell and has snowballed on the festival circuit winning Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival, the People’s Choice Award at TIFF, and a further 11 nominations for British Independent Film Awards.

Gala Screenings at DIFF 2017


Tuesday, December 12, will start with Bafta Award winning director Lynne Ramsay and her thriller, You Were Never Really Here. Picking up awards for Best Actor and Best Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival, the feature received a phenomenal reception and standing ovation from audiences. Matt Damon is the pick of the bunch in Alexander Payne’s Academy Award winning satirical sci-fi piece, Downsizing. Centred on a man who chooses to shrink himself (literally) to simplify his life, the film will conclude the screenings in the arena, with help from Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Laura Dern, Jason Sudeikis, Alec Baldwin, and Neil Patrick Harris.

Gala Screenings at DIFF 2017


Don’t miss it!

DIFF runs from December 6 to 13. Red carpet gala tickets start at Dh100. Tickets to other screenings will go on sale from December 5, 2017 on the DIFF website.



Sources: DIFF and Gulf News

DIFF Announces First Set of Films Shortlisted for Muhr Awards

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has announced the first seven films shortlisted for the highly anticipated Muhr Awards, displaying the latest and greatest in regional cinema. Taking place over the course of the Festival, from 6 – 13 December, the esteemed ‘Muhr Short’ category will showcase short films from emerging talent and seasoned filmmakers alike.

Since its launch in 2006, the prestigious Muhr Awards take pride in providing a platform to unearth the best in Arab cinema and help discover and nurture burgeoning talent from the region. In addition to showcasing cultural intricacies and growing talent to a global audience, the ‘Muhr Short’ category provides the opportunity of a lifetime with the winning short film qualifying for consideration for an Academy Award 2019 nomination.

Starting off the line-up is critically acclaimed Palestinian-Danish filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel, who returns to the Festival with his latest short A Drowning Man’. The film follows Fatah as he arrives in modern day Athens, evading predators and finding his way through the strange new world. Along his journey, the audience wonders if he will gain wisdom or succumb to desperation in his surroundings, as he struggles to define his new existence in exile.


Mahdi Fleifel's 'A Drowning Man'


Tunisian actress, author and filmmaker Nidhal Guiga has enjoyed critical acclaim across a variety of mediums. She now returns to DIFF for her first foray into short film with the world premiere of Astra, a journey that relishes in the unexpected. A man named Dali takes care of his daughter, Douja, who has Down syndrome. Against his wife’s wishes, he takes Douja to an amusement park called Astra. Once there, they realize that nothing could have prepared them for the bizarre world that they encounter.


Nidhal Guiga's film 'Astra'


Born in Palestine and raised in Jordan, Rakan Mayasi is known for his issue-tackling short films. Mayasi heads to DIFF with his latest short Bonboné, which explores one of many issues facing Palestinians held in Israeli jails. With the husband serving time in an Israeli jail, where physical interaction is prohibited, a couple devises a bold plan for their dreams of a family. However, as a series of obstacles threaten their plan, will they be able to succeed?

Joining Mayasi is multi-talented filmmaker Fadi (The Fdz) Baki, founder of the Lebanese animation film festival, Beirut Animated. Baki makes his international premiere at DIFF with his short, The Last Days of the Man of Tomorrow, which tells the story of a young filmmaker who uncovers the mystery of a forgotten automaton, Manivelle, gifted to Beirut in 1945. While investigating the history of this wonder of art and science, the filmmaker drags the automaton out of its abandoned mansion into the modern day city, where Manivelle is forced to face the distance between his own memories and the reality as recounted by those that knew him.

Tunisian filmmaker Abdelhamid Bouchnak makes his DIFF premiere with the release of his short, Le Bonbon. As a young recent graduate, Mehdi is incredibly ambitious and optimistic. With the support of his loving mother, he prepares for his first day of work as a bailiff. However, he is shocked when things do not go as expected. Finding himself bullied by his boss, ignored by his colleagues and mistreated by his company, Mehdi realizes he must harden to survive. In the process, he loses his naivety and purity until one day, when everything changes.


Abdelhamid Bouchnak 's film 'Le Bonbon'


Jordanian-Palestinian director Yassmina Karajah brings new talent and unique storytelling to the 14th Festival with her latest short, Rupture. Introducing a cast of first time actors, the international premiere is character-driven and intimate, as it follows four Arab teens who search for a public pool in their new city one sunny summer day. The journey soon allows the group to channel their personal experience of loss and new beginnings as survivors of war.


Yassmina Karajah's 'Rapture'


Lebanese filmmaker Marwan Khneisser’s The Servants makes it worldwide premiere at this year’s DIFF. In a tale that takes a twist, Nabil, the guardian of an old villa near the sea, finds his day ruined when Sayed from the mafia comes to spend a day of debauchery with his friends in tow. To leave behind the chaos, Nabil’s son Wissam and Sayed’s son Fadi escape to bathe. Little do they know that escaping is not an option, as the past will tragically disrupt the day.

Masoud Amralla, DIFF’s Artistic Director, commented: “The Muhr Short category strives to be a catalyst for the growth of the regional film industry. The unique medium of short films naturally encourages the inventive mind, as short filmmakers must bring beautiful stories to life that are riveting and to the point. We encourage audiences to come and experience the best of short film at DIFF 17, this year really will showcase a powerful and diverse selection of beautifully made and compelling short films.”

DIFF’s programmer, Salah Sermini, added: “The filmmakers in this year’s line-up bring a new level of cultural depth and understanding to DIFF. The variety, sensitivity and creativity of their work will ensure that this year’s ‘Muhr Short’ category captivates the audience like never before.”

The Festival returns this year from 6 – 13 December 2017. Registration is now open for the 14th edition.



Source: DIFF