Dubai International Film Festival Unveils Arab Competition Feature Lineup

The 16-strong section boasts movies from Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt for its seventh prize-giving event.

LONDON – Filmmakers from Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt are among the nationalities competing in the Dubai International Film Festival's Muhr Arab feature film competition strand.

Erfan Rashid, director of the event's Arab Program, noted that while the movies reflect the political turmoil in the region, other topics covered include "crime dramas, experimental documentary, a strong musical presence, contemplative works about memory and love."

The 16-strong lineup includes Ibrahim El Batout's Winter of Discontent, which will make its Gulf premiere after unspooling in Venice earlier this year.

It details the story of police torture in Egypt against the backdrop of the country's revolution Jan. 25, 2011.

Other titles vying for the cash prizes available include first-time feature director Fadi G. Haddad quirky and uplifting When Monaliza Smiled, Lebanese director Fouad Alaywan's Asfouri and Meyar Al Roumi’s Round Trip.

Organizers said this year's 2012 Muhr Awards, now in their seventh year, comprise nine world, two international, four Middle East and one GCC debut.

DIFF artistic director Masoud Amralla al Ali said: "The Muhr Arab program has been in existence long enough for us to see contestants returning with their second and third films, which is incredibly rewarding."

The festival runs Dec. 9 through 16.