Dubai Film Fest: Veteran Egyptian Critic to Receive Honor

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images For Dubai International Film Festival
Abdulhamid Juma

Samir Farid, a prominent critic of Arab cinema for more than 50 years, will join Martin Sheen in picking up a lifetime achievement award from the Middle Eastern film event.

LONDON -- Veteran Egyptian film critic Samir Farid, who has spent more than 50 years interpreting and debating Arab cinema, is to be the second of this year's lifetime achievement award winners during the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

Farid joins actor Martin Sheen, already announced to be honored with a lifetime achievement nod, during the Middle Eastern event in December.

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It is the first time that the festival has awarded the honor to a film critic, organizers said.

DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma described Farid as "a giant in his field," who has been "tireless in promoting cinema, both within the Arab world and beyond, for fifty years."

"The lifetime achievement award honors his passion for Arab cinema, which we at DIFF hold as part of our core ethos,” he added.

The festival chairman also noted that critics "play an important part in the cinema world, as they analyze, interpret and preserve films for the general public," describing them as "historians and archivists of cinema."

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For his part, Farid said: "It's a great honor from a great festival that was a turning point in the region toward cinema as an expression of modernity, and an expression of Dubai's pivotal role in the region and internationally."

Farid has been writing about Arab cinema since 1965, when he became film critic of Cairo's Al-Gomhoreya daily, where he served for 38 years.

Previous DIFF lifetime achievement honorees include Omar Sharif, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Terry Gilliam, Michael Apted and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.

The 10th edition of the festival runs Dec. 6-14.