Dubai International Film Festival

Latest headlines and analysis

The Hollywood Reporter and Gulf News have teamed up for The Daily in Dubai, a daily satellite edition published at the Dubai International Film Festival. Download each day's issue in PDF format here.
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8

Sunday, Dec. 16

Dubai Fest calls 'cut' on a 'beautiful year'
Cultures were bridged, minds met. As the fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival drew to a close Sunday, organizers can look back on a mission accomplished. More

'Under' stands over the rest at DIFF
Philippe Aractingi's timely relationship drama "Under the Bombs" took top prize Saturday evening as the Dubai International Film Festival handed out its Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema competition. More

Friday, Dec. 14

Festival directors go fishing in Dubai
It may only be in its fourth edition, but the Dubai International Film Festival has leapfrogged into pole position as a place to source films from the Arab world, according to festival programmers here. More

'Tree' faced climb to children's sidebar
A Dubai International Film Festival screening of the Children's Cinema entry "The Peace Tree" from director Mitra Sen almost didn't make it into the popular sidebar. "I had to fight for this film," programmer Myrna Maakron said. "Since the film is actually a short, at 48 minutes, it didn't really meet the criteria since the children's sidebar is supposed to be devoted to features." More

Dubai working to attract more shoots
Movie mavens here are considering how to boost incentives so that more international film shoots set up shop in the emirate. So said Amina Al Rustamani, the executive director of Dubai Media, the entity that oversees both Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City. More

Sri Lankan director seeks mileage at festival

There can be little doubt that the name on everyone's lips at the 2007 Dubai International Film Festival has been George Clooney. The star breezed into Dubai and up the red carpet with the pomp and majesty reserved for only Hollywood royalty. Cameras flashed, women swooned, and excited onlookers wished it was them on the crimson rug instead of standing behind barriers. More

Im sees parallels between Korea, Middle East
Im Kwon-taek, in Dubai this year to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the festival, has often made films chronicling political upheaval. The legendary Korean director said he sees parallels between Korea's history and the conflicts in the Middle East. More

Panel: B'casters 'vital' to films' success

Broadcasters and filmmakers must work more closely together to ensure that quality programming reaches a viewing audience, according to a panel discussion that focused on Arab broadcasters and film. More

Location division aims to become 'one-stop shop'

The Location Approval Services Department, a division of Dubai Studio City, has quickly become an effective facilitator for international and local filmmakers hoping to shoot in and around the Emirates. More

Makeup workshop outlines looks

Budding film makeup artists were shown how to apply makeup for the movies during a master class held Friday by M.A.C senior artist Tiffany Johnston. During the live demonstration, Johnston showed aspiring filmmakers how to create a period look. More

Thursday, Dec. 13

Festival a chance to jolt local film
Filmmakers at the Dubai International Film Festival are making the most of the event as a springboard to put together locally set projects. And the hope is that these may stir the interest of deep-pocketed local investors hitherto focused only on real estate. More



Arab film financing scrutinized at panel
What started out as a general discussion about filmmaking in the Arab world quickly escalated into a passionate dialogue between panelists and attendees about the need for Arab countries to begin supporting their own film sectors. A lively discussion ensued when attendees spontaneously began lobbing questions at panelists. More

Documentaries emerging at this year's fest
The whole, as the saying goes, is equal to the sum of its parts. Making up a valuable part of the Dubai International Film Festival's whole this year is the emerging art of the documentary, with the form adding a sense of variety and depth alongside the usual slice of fiction features on offer. More

Photo exhibit reframed for festival
The Dubai International Film Festival this year features not only motion pictures, but also a prestigious exhibition of still photography by the acclaimed photographic cooperative Magnum Photos. More

Axis of Evil replaces 'Thread' screening
The Axis of Evil Comedy Troupe has replaced Thursday's 8 p.m. screening of the film "The White Thread," festival organizers announced. No reason was given for the change, other than "circumstances beyond our control led to the rescheduling." More

Volunteers report for festival duty
Considered by many to be the backbone of the festival, the volunteers, mostly unpaid students, take up various positions at DIFF -- working in the movie theaters, helping out with industry figures, running for the VIPs -- fueled by nothing more than enthusiasm and a love of film. More

Wednesday, Dec. 12

Paradigm makes push in Middle East
There's a new paradigm emerging at the Dubai International Film Festival -- and an American talent agency, aptly named Paradigm, is trying to play a key role in the development. More

Dubai fest teams for producer workshop

In an effort to foster a more viable environment for local production, the Dubai International Film Festival has teamed up with Luxembourg-based European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs to conduct a first-time workshop called Coaching for Producers. More

Global cinema culture in Dubai panel's sights
Beyond the glitz and the glamour of the fourth annual Dubai International Film Festival lies, what organizers believe, is "a bringing together boundaries of nationality, time, religion and togetherness." So said DIFF artistic director Simon Field, speaking about the festival's Cultural Bridge Panel, set for Thursday at the Madinat Theatre. More

30-film Made in Morocco slate unveiled

Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch and the country's national broadcaster SNRT unveiled a moviemaking initiative here Wednesday to foster local film talent. More

MBC2 building interactive movie portal

Stand by for the Middle East movie mash-up. Regional movie channel MBC2 is launching a bilingual interactive online movie portal, Movies in Motion, aimed at film buffs in the Arab world, the company said here Wednesday. More

Dialogue: Emilio Estefan
Emilio Estefan has channeled his passion for Latin music into a documentary called "90 Millas," which he shot while recording the album of the same name with his wife, recording star Gloria Estefan. More



Tuesday, Dec. 11

Stone helps raise $3 mil at amfAR benefit
In one of her best performances, Sharon Stone alternately charmed and cajoled several hundred well-heeled guests to fork out upward of $3 million to benefit AIDS research via the first Dubai-based amfAR charity event. More

'Kite' comes at Dubai's tail end
Redemption drama "The Kite Runner," based on Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel and directed by Marc Forster, will close the fourth Dubai International Film Festival on Sunday, organizers said here Tuesday. More

Comics use their talents for Evil

The Axis of Evil is unleashing its brand of multicultural humor on the Middle East. The comic trio of Arab-Americans -- Ahmed Ahmed, Maz Jobrani and Aaron Kader -- are on a five-country tour taking them from Beirut and Amman to Cairo and now Dubai, where they will perform Wednesday at one of the local comedy clubs. More

Dubai film initiative aims for cooperation
Arab filmmakers are looking to get connected at this year's DIFF. That is the objective of the inaugural Dubai Film Connection, a first-time initiative in the Middle East that aims to encourage and facilitate broader cooperation between the Arab and international film industries. More

SpaceToon ani studio a go for launch
It was hard to tell who was more excited, SpaceToon president and CEO Fayez Weiss Alsabagh, speaking at a press conference to announce plans of his company's expansion, or the assembled hoard of media hacks, who were presented with, among other items, their own "Fulla" toy doll to play with. More

Monday, Dec. 10


A dustup over Dubai fest
Former Dubai International Film Festival chief Neil Stephenson filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court against two of the festival's senior officials, claiming they forced him out and ruined his reputation by branding him an "Arab hater." More

Shalhoub aims to change Arab image in U.S.

Despite several chances to take the bait and swallow whole, Tony Shalhoub painstakingly resisted. The star of "AmericanEast" was on hand Monday in Dubai to tub-thump the indie movie, which focuses on Arab-American immigrants in post-Sept. 11 Los Angeles, specifically their relations with their Jewish neighbors. The film screened Monday afternoon at the Madinat Jumeirah during the fourth annual Dubai International Film Festival. More

Dubai fest arrives with gift lounge
In a sign that the Dubai International Film Festival has secured its spot in the global festival firmament, the celebrity gift lounge has landed. More

Estefans bring Rhythm to Dubai
From mambo to conga, the sounds of Cuba helped spice up the Dubai International Film Festival on Tuesday as the inaugural Rhythm & Reels sidebar kicked off with the help of a music power couple. More

Dubai hopes to strike chord
The Dubai International Film Festival got under way Sunday, marking a major step forward in the evolution of what quickly has become the region's premier film event. More

Star power fueling Dubai fest's growth
The Dubai International Film Festival plugged into George Clooney's star wattage Sunday, powering the event into the global media spotlight. More

Moroccan movie industry going to the next level
When Nabil Ayouch's cross-cultural romantic comedy "Whatever Lola Wants" has its gala screening for the Arabian Nights section in Dubai, it will be one of the most prestigious international bows for a Moroccan director of late.
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