Ex-DIFF chief files libel suit

Neil Stephenson, former CEO of the Dubai International Film Festival, is suing two former colleagues for libel amid allegations that they called him a "racist" and an "Arab hater." The legal action, launched in the U.K. High Court of Justice, is against DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma and managing director Shivani Pandya, who Stephenson says illegally conspired to engineer his exit from the fest in late 2006. DIFF organizers could not be reached at press time.

Sundance grants

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program will award its fall 2008 grants to 20 films exploring politically charged topics, including Macky Alston's "The Truth Will Set You Free," which follows openly gay bishop Gene Robinson on his journey from New Hampshire to London to fight for gay church leadership. Twelve countries are represented in the slate, including several co-productions.

Sante Fe fetes

James Cromwell, Howard Shore and Vilmos Zsigmond will receive Luminaria Awards for Lifetime Achievement at the ninth annual Santa Fe Film Festival. The event, which begins Wednesday, features gala screenings of "Doubt," "Che," "Last Chance Harvey" and the New Mexico-filmed "Sunshine Cleaning."
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