The 14th annual Dubai International Film Festival began with a bang on Wednesday evening, with a red carpet roll out to mark the beginning of a stellar line-up of film premieres and screenings across the city.
Taking place from Dec. 6 – 13, the festival will showcase more than 140 short and feature-length films in more than 38 languages from 51 countries in the Arab world and beyond. The movies are set to be screened across the city, including the main location at Souk Madinat Jumeirah as well as VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates and VOX Cinemas, Galleria Mall.
The Opening Night Gala on Wednesday presented award-winning director Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles,” starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike.
This year, organizers have chosen three individuals to receive DIFF Honorary Awards in celebration of those who have contributed to the international film industry.
British actor Sir Patrick Stewart, who played Professor Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” franchise, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his almost-six-decade-long career, while Egyptian writer Wahid Hamed will also be given an honorary award for his four-decade career. Bollywood actor Irfan Khan, who has also played roles in Hollywood films, is set to be honored for his significant contribution — including his more than 80 films — to the international film industry.
The film festival features a series of competition segments, including the highly contested Muhr Competition for feature fiction and non-fiction. Short films from the Arab world’s established and new talent will be screened as part of the competition and the winner will qualify for Oscar nominations.
Masoud Amralla Al-Ali, DIFF’s artistic director, said: “At its heart, DIFF was conceived to provide a platform for Arab talent, and every year we strive to showcase and support the best work coming out of the region. We are excited to welcome over 59 regional films to the Festival this year, each making sure that voices from this part of the world are heard.”
The festival is set to close with a highly anticipated screening of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Dec. 13, the latest installment in the internationally loved series and the last time late actress Carrie Fisher appeared on screen.