Lee Daniels to Head Dubai Film Festival Jury

Lee Daniels
Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP

Jane Fonda and Forest Whitaker, two of the stars of Lee Daniels' The Butler, were introduced to hearty applause before presenting Lee Daniels with the Hollywood Director Award. Daniels noted the irony of his award featuring the word "Hollywood" in its title because his film was made without the interest or support of virtually any Hollywood studio, noting that it was the late Laura Ziskin who is most responsible for making it happen: "On her deathbed we were rewriting the script. Literally."


The festival is due to run Dec. 10-17

The Butler and Precious director Lee Daniels will be heading to the Middle East next month to head the jury for the Dubai International Film Festival’s main ‘Muhr’ feature competition.

The festival, which is due to run Dec. 10-17, made the announcement Tuesday, just a day after it revealed the films that will be competing for its top prize.

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Among the line-up of regional features comes United Arab Emirates’ drama Dolphins from Waleed Al Shehhi, Algerian thriller I’m Dead by Yacine Mohamed Benelhadj, I am Nujoom, Aged 10 and Divorced, the story of a Yemeni child bride from Khadija Al-Salami and Moroccan drama The Sea is Behind by Hicham Lasri.

Reine Mitri also competes with his Lebanese doc In This Land Lay Graves of Mine, alongside Hisham Zaman’s refugee odyssey A Letter to the King, The Narrow Frame of Midnight by Tala Hadid, Palestinian doc The Council from Yahya Alabdallah and Out of the Ordinary by renowned Egyptian director Daoud Abdel Sayed. Many of these films will be world premieres have been supported financial by the festival’s own Enjaaz post-production program.

Last year, DIFF’s best film and best director award went to Hany Abu Assad’s Oscar-nominated Palestinian drama Omar.