'Hostiles,' 'Last Jedi' Bookend Dubai Film Festival

Lorey Sebastian, Le Grisbi Productions/Waypoint Entertainment

Patrick Stewart will receive an honorary award at the Middle East's biggest film fest.

The Dubai International Film Festival, the biggest movie event in the Middle East, has unveiled the full lineup for its upcoming 14th edition. 

Hostiles, the Christian Bale-starring American period piece that first bowed in Telluride, is set to raise the curtain in the beachside Madinat Jumeirah on Dec 6, while Star Wars: The Last Jedi will close the event Dec 13, two days before its U.S. release.

Meanwhile, Star Trek and X-Men legend Patrick Stewart will receive one of the festival's honorary awards, the others going to Egyptian writer Wahid Hamed and Indian icon Irrfan Khan.

Films in the 140-strong lineup are set to include Darkest Hour, The Disaster Artist, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, The Square, Molly's Game, The Death of Stalin, Loveless, Downsizing, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and I, Tonya, alongside a bumper crop of Arab titles. Among the attendees are Cate Blanchett, Dee Rees, Sarah Jessica Parker, Morgan Spurlock, Rob Reiner, Olga Kurylenko, Vanessa Williams, David Harbour, Haifaa Al Mansour, AMPAS president John Bailey and Oscar-winning costume designer Alexandra Bryne. 

For the sixth consecutive year, Swiss watch brand IWC Schaffhausen is teaming with DIFF to grant a regional filmmaker $100,000 toward the person's project, with Blanchett once again heading up the jury.

The Dubai Film Market, considered the leading industry platform in the region having supported more than 300 filmmakers since its inception, will run alongside the festival. The DFM’s co-production market The Dubai Film Connection celebrates its 10th edition with 13 projects in development.

"This year, we are presenting a UK Spotlight with the British Film Institute, BAFTA and British Council, to connect film professionals from the U.K. and the Arab world," said festival managing director Shivani Pandya.

"We are also partnering once again with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and look forward to welcoming delegations from both parties to the Festival this year. Not only will their presence allow us to showcase the best of regional cinema to a global audience, they will also be sharing their expertise and experience with the local industry through the Dubai Film Market."