2008 Dubai International Film Festival

Fifth edition of the Middle East fest runs Dec. 11-18

The Hollywood Reporter is on the scene covering this year's Dubai International Film Festival. Download each day's special festival edition in PDF format here.

   
 
 
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THR's guide to Dubai hot spots
Dubai festival's official Web site

Dec. 17, 2008


Grand opening for Dubai Film Market
As the Dubai International Film Festival headed to the finish line Wednesday, organizers and participants were exhausted but enthused after a week of screenings, meetings, feasting and, yes, deals. Full story

Creating art amid the chaos of war
Filmmakers in war-torn regions of the world regularly take great risks, or sometimes simply can't avoid them, to bring a project home. Full story

It's the 'Outlaws' life for Rachid Bouchareb
The force behind some of the most acclaimed films in the Arab world -- including 2006 Festival de Cannes Competition title "Days of Glory" -- had his next project on his mind when he talked to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. Full story

Dubai honoree Tsui Hark looks back
"I feel like I just started my work yesterday," said Tsui Hark, the China-born writer, producer, director and actor honored this week with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Dubai International Film Festival alongside Terry Gilliam and Rachid Bouchareb. Full story

Film on anti-terrorism tactic makes mark
"Pesantren -- 3 Wishes, 3 Loves," screening this week at the Dubai International Film Festival, fictionalizes the fingerprinting of boys at Indonesia's Islamic boarding schools. Full story

Dubai volunteers keep wheels turning
The unsung heroes of any film festival are the local teenagers volunteering around the clock to attend to the every whim of industry big shots and wannabes flown in from around the world. Full story

'Barbershop' has ART connection
Egypt-based Arab Radio and Television Network has taken all rights for the Middle East to the Dubai Film Connection project "Barbershop Trinity." Full story

Q&A: Haile Gerima and Aaron Arefe
THR Asia editor Jonathan Landreth met up with director Haile Gerima, 62, and his 28-year-old "Teza" star Aaron Arefe to talk about African filmmaking. Full story

Dec. 16, 2008

Palestinian voices emerge in Dubai
This year's Dubai festival International Film Festival is showcasing works from five female Palestinian directors. Full story

Arab business model is independent minded
From "Pulp Fiction" to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" to "Four Weddings and a Funeral" -- some of the most memorable films of all time have bore the tag "indie." But for all their diversity, they share a common trait: tight budgets and a lack of major studio support. Full story

Stronger than fiction: Docs find buyers
News that Qatari broadcast giant Al Jazeera's fledgling documentary channel may grow in 2009 despite the global financial crisis was welcomed by dozens of nonfiction filmmakers gathered at the Dubai International Film Festival on Tuesday. Full story

Six filmmakers win festival awards
Prizes totaling about $118,255 were given to six Arab filmmakers at the Dubai International Film Festival on Tuesday as the Film Connection jury chose the winners from a field of 21 competing for deals with global film funds, sales companies and distributors. Full story

'Error' in judgment: Dubai weighs CGI
Dubai is about to get its first CGI film, fresh from the Houston animation scene. Doing the rounds here Tuesday was the Dubai-based production company Xpanse, here raising the remaining financing for its $600,000 sci-fi thriller "Xero Error." Full story

Q&A: Danny Boyle
Director Danny Boyle discusses DIFF's closing-night film, "Slumdog Millionaire." Full story

Dec. 15, 2008

Attendees share advice on mixing art, commerce
Independent international filmmaker? Want to break into the U.S. market? Start small, find your "tribe" and learn to think outside the Hollywood box. Oh, and don't even think about a theatrical deal. Think digital instead. Full story

'Slumdog' novelist's next book optioned
The next novel from Vikas Swarup, author of "Q&A" -- on which Dubai International Film Festival closer "Slumdog Millionaire" was based -- has been optioned by British producer Paul Raphael's Starfield Prods. and BBC Films. Full story

Four UAE projects head for the Hills
A day after the first full-fledged Emirati feature film was unveiled at the Dubai International Film Festival, a number of local productions have come out of the woodwork. They all have one thing in common -- brothers Mark and Peter Hill -- the go-to guys for all things media in Dubai. Full story

Little actors play a big part
Two African street kids being plucked from obscurity to become the toast of the continent sounds like something from a far-fetched film plot. But that's exactly what happened to the Nigerian dwarfs known as Aki and Pawpaw, the stars of the film of the same name. Full story

Umesh Kulkarni on a Marathi mission
Building a global audience for films shot in Marathi, the language of India's Maharashtra State, is a personal mission for debut director Umesh Kulkarni, whose "Valu, the Bull" had its Middle East premiere Monday at the Dubai International Film Festival. Full story

Q&A: Shivani Pandya
The managing director of the Dubai International Film Festival discusses the logistics involved in the planning and operation of such a huge event in the Dubai calendar. Full story



Dec. 14, 2008

Dubai Film Market goes on-demand
If the initial response to the Dubai Film Market is anything to go by, the future of film sales just might be digital. "We have been taking surveys every day to find out how we can improve the facility," market director Ziad Yaghi said Sunday. Full story

Mostafa breathes 'Life' into Dubai biz
Marking a landmark moment in the development of the fledgling Dubai film industry, a delegation of top industry players hit DIFF on Sunday to talk up production of the emirates' first major feature film. Full story

Spotlight on Dubai arts, culture coming soon
An arts and culture television channel will be unveiled next year by Arab Media Group, the largest media company in the United Arab Emirates and an inaugural sponsor of the Dubai International Film Festival. Full story

Clown's tale puts Italy in focus
"Pa Ra Da," which opened the Italian cinema "focus" at the Dubai International Film Festival on Sunday, is based on true events that could have happened anywhere children live on the street. Full story

Q&A: Masoud Amralla Al Ali
Dubai International Film Festival artistic director Masoud Amralla Al Ali talks about the planning and shares his thoughts on this year's festival and the newest artistic additions. Full story

Dec. 13, 2008

Arab exhibitors at a crossroads
Boxoffice in the Arab world has never been better, but there's lots of room for improvement, regional exhibition and distribution executives said Saturday in a panel discussion at the Dubai International Film Festival. Full story

Bill Plympton appeals to better 'Angels'
Award-winning U.S. animator Bill Plympton -- in Dubai for the first time, with his feature-length toon "Idiots and Angels" -- said Saturday that he doubts the feature will be distributed in the Arab world. Full story

'Girls of Riyadh' on Serafina's agenda
An adaptation of the best-seller "Girls of Riyadh" and a biopic of cult 1960s author Khalil Gibran ("The Prophet") are among projects German film-fund veteran Susanne Bohnet is developing as part of her new United Arab Emirates- and U.S.-based company, Serafina Releasing. Full story

Arab festival calendar is filling up
While arguably the hottest ticket in the region, the Dubai International Film Festival is hardly alone these days. Five years after its launch, DIFF is now part of an entire season of Arab film festivals, running from October to December each year. Full story

Arab pics top must-see list at market
Arab films are proving to be the most popular titles at the first Dubai Film Market, where the Moroccan drama "Casanegra" is so far the most-viewed of the 211 titles screening. Full story

Second amfAR bash raises $1.8 mil
A smattering of Hollywood stars made their way out to Dubai's latest attraction, the Atlantis hotel, for the second annual Cinema Against AIDS gala in Dubai, which raised $1.8 million Friday night. Full story

Kaderali puckers up for 'Kissing Cousins'
"Kissing Cousins," a "relatively romantic comedy" tells a story that, at first blush, might sound too taboo for the Dubai International Film Festival. Full story

Q&A: Gunjan Bagla
Gunjan Bagla, an L.A.-based consultant on the Indian economy, gives a few pointers on how to bridge the divide between Hollywood and Bollywood. F
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