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A 2020 vision of excellence
NEWS Singing lessons Wide House picks up musical doc Champ Of The Camp » Page 5
On November 27, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates were chosen to host the 2020 World Expo. The country’s bid to host the grand global event was strengthened by its unrivalled infrastructure, diversity of talent and exceptional commitment to cultural events that encourage the exchange of ideas, expertise, innovation and inspiration. Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is one such key cultural event that has helped cement Dubai’s reputation as a truly international centre of artistic excellence. Since it was launched in 2004, the festival has consistently attracted film professionals and talent by showcasing the best in Arab, regional and world cinema. DIFF’s achievements mirror the ambitions of Dubai and the UAE, a place where talented individuals can realise their aspirations, a country that believes in the festival’s core remit of ‘Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds’. On the tenth anniversary of DIFF, I congratulate the team for staging a fantastic event each year and reinforcing Dubai’s stature as a cultural leader. To all our guests, I hope you enjoy the festival and your stay in Dubai.
REVIEW Crossing borders
HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
President Dubai Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Dubai Airports Chairman and CEO Emirates Group Honorary Chairman Dubai International Film Festival
The Marchers set to storm Burj Park
Hany Abu-Assad’s DIFF opener Omar is a credible, effective drama for an international audience » Page 7
FEATURES Birthday boost Arab cinema is taking centre stage at the tenth DIFF » Page 8
Star attraction Why high-profile international films are shooting in Dubai » Page 14
CIS plots path as industry grapples with digital reality BY MELANIE GOODFELLOW
Champ Of The Camp
Technological changes are challenging traditional funding models but also opening up new ways to make, finance and distribute features, said Hollywood veterans at the Cinematic Innovation Summit (CIS) yesterday. Chairing a panel about film finance, Lava Bear Films’ CEO David Linde said producers and distributors need to move with the times if they want to stay in the movie game. “The economics of the global film business are transforming, largely driven by technology changes in and around traditional distribution mediums,” said Linde, who moderated the panel that also featured The Weinstein Company COO David Glasser, Bridget Jones’s Diary producer Jonathan Cavendish and US producer Vince Jolivette. “The sudden and severe disin-
terest of Western audiences in the DVD format, combined with their increasing facility in downloading pirated content, has created real challenges to traditional film economics and thus the means of financing films,” Linde added. However, all the panellists demonstrated that the same technological advances that are threatening film finance are also opening up
new opportunities. Cavendish said the new financial climate had forced his company The Imaginarium — the hi-tech London-based performance-capture studio he setup with Andy Serkis last year — to look for creative solutions to produce their pictures for less money. “In this ever-changing landscape we need to find ways to make spectacular motion pictures for much less money than in the past. Being in a technical space as well as a creative space, we have a bunch of people working for us who can help us do this,” Cavendish said. He added: “We acquire existing IP or create our own and we start developing the movie for way less than anyone would think possible. We create digital assets we can then use in TV, video games and interactive. We’ve created a new revenue chain in which we have a stake.”
Jolivette, who co-runs the prolific low-budget production house Rabbit Bandini with actor James Franco, said they had turned to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to finance a raft of first-time features budgeted at less than $1m. “Film-makers who tend to be more creative than business savvy can use their creativity in the campaign,” Jolivette said. Meanwhile, Glasser explained how TWC has embraced television, Netflix as well as VoD dayand-date releases for some of its films, through the creation of its multi-platform arm Radius-TWC, in response to market changes. “We put the same amount of energy into a VoD release as we would a theatrical one. In the beginning I thought we would release 25 titles a year under the title, but we’ve settled on eight or 10.”
DIFF’s Screen On The Green programme of free screenings will kick off tonight with French film The Marchers (La Marche) directed by Moroccan-Belgian film-maker Nabil Ben Yadir. Starring rising French actor Tewfik Jallab, the film revolves around a real-life anti-racism march from Marseille to Paris in 1983, which was joined by 100,000 people. It was released in France last month to mark the 30th anniversary of the march. The film will screen at Burj Park, next to Burj Khalifa, at 18:30 following live coverage from the red carpet at DIFF’s opening night. Melanie Goodfellow
Gunday stars shine at DIFF The cast and crew of Bollywood film Gunday will be attending DIFF to take part in a special ‘In Conversation’ session at Madinat Theatre at 18:30 on Friday, December 13. Bollywood stars Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, and the film’s director Ali Abbas Zafar, will also unveil the trailer of the film. Produced by Yash Raj Films, Gunday tracks two renegades and their rise to power in 1970s Calcutta. The film will be released in Hindi and Bengali versions in India on February 14. Nandita Dutta
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DreamWorks Animation producer Jane Hartwell and senior VFX supervisor Markus Manninen explained how new production processes are empowering the vision of the director, in a session on ‘The Future of Animation’ at the Cinematic Innovation Summit (CIS) yesterday. New techniques such as realtime 3D animation — where sequences of animated movies are shot in real time using motion capture — are resulting in shorter production schedules, lower costs and greater collaboration between department heads. This in turn gives the director more control over the film. “The natural inclination for department heads is to focus on the stage that they are involved in, rather than the overall vision of the film,” Hartwell explained, following a demonstration of the technology used in animated blockbuster The Croods. She added that when shooting real-time animation, lighting artists and animators work under the supervision of the director, which makes it a collaborative process instead of a review-based one. “Animation is not a genre but a technique where the design and stylistic choices are completely driven by the director’s vision,” Manninen said. “The story inspires technological innovation and not the other way round.”
Wide sings along with Champ By Melanie Goodfellow
Paris-based sales company Wide House has picked up international rights to Mahmoud Kaabour’s Champ Of The Camp, a musical documentary set in the UAE’s labour camps, which premieres at DIFF tomorrow. The film explores life in the camps, housing thousands of South Asian labourers on the outskirts of the city, through the Bollywood singing and trivia competitions that are run for entertainment. These X-Factor style contests have been running for seven years in the camps, drawing some 10,000 entrants this year. The world premiere of the film will be held in the shadow of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which one of the documentary’s stars helped to build, in a free open-air screening tomorrow evening.
Champ Of The Camp
“It’s great the film is getting this sort of recognition in MENA before heading to other international festivals and markets in 2014,” said Wide House chief Anaïs Clanet. She said Wide House had been approached by Kaabour’s Dubaibased production company Veritas
Films on the basis of other pictures the French company had handled from the region. Wide House and sister company Wide Management previously sold Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not A Film and Atia and Mohamed Al Daradji’s In My Mother’s Arms. “It’s the first time a film-maker
has entered the camps. Mahmoud focuses on the workers’ reality, through their eyes, with no influence from the media or the international community,” said Clanet. “This is a joyful documentary even if the second layer of the film, their work conditions, is always there.” Kaabour, a Lebanese-born, Dubai-based film-maker, is returning to DIFF following the screening of his short documentary Being Osama in 2005. In the aftermath of 9/11, the film spends 18 months with six men in Montreal who share their first name with Osama Bin Laden. Kaabour’s credits also include Grandma, A Thousand Times (2010). Meanwhile, Wide Management is handling sales on Palestinian film-makers Arab and Tarzan Nasser’s Gaza-set Condom Lead, capturing life during the 22-day Israeli offensive on Gaza in 2009.
Serkis plants seed for Animal Farm shoot By Melanie Goodfellow
Performance capture pioneer Andy Serkis has revealed he plans to shoot his directorial debut, an adaptation of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, in the second half of 2014. “We have started pre-vis, which in the virtual world means you’ve already started shooting the film,” Serkis told Screen at the Cinematic Innovation Summit (CIS) here in Dubai yesterday. “Principal photography will
take place in the third quarter of next year,” he added. The $50m project was first announced last year as the inaugural production of The Imaginarium, the performance-capture studio co-founded by Serkis and producer Jonathan Cavendish. A speaker at CIS, Serkis told delegates he had directed pre-vis work via Skype from his trailer on the set of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Serkis said The Imaginarium is
working with German concept artist Michael Kutsche (Alice In Wonderland) to create a heightened design aesthetic for Animal Farm. “What we’re trying to do is fairly unique. It’s going to be entirely performance captured, so rather than images of real animals with talking mouths, it will all be generated by the interaction between the actors,” Serkis said. UK-based Embankment Films is handling sales on the film.
can really connect with Arab filmmakers.
interesting to learn that Hollywood actors, big names, come with a very strong vision. You have to see if it’s possible for your vision to not conflict with their vision.
Andy Serkis at CIS
DreamWorks: future bright for directors
One on one Hany Abu-Assad, film-maker, Omar Can you say more about your plans for an Arab equivalent to American Zoetrope? Well, it’s a dream, still in child’s shoes! With Omar, I tried to give young Palestinians a chance to work on it — the cameraman, the editor, the production designer. I am producing. In Dubai, we will try to connect with other colleagues and to support this idea of making our voice stronger in the world.
Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar, which opens DIFF tonight, won the jury prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year and is Palestine’s entry to the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards.
How do you regard Dubai film festival? At the second edition I had the opening film, Paradise Now (2005). It was one of the high points of my career to be there. What Dubai can offer me is that I
How do you look back on your thriller The Courier (2012)? How did that compare to Omar or Paradise Now? The Courier was very helpful for me in understanding narrative and genre. I don’t feel I succeeded with The Courier but I succeeded with Omar. You need sometimes to try and fail and then to try again, in order to succeed. The suspense and characters in The Courier were artificial. This was my lesson — if you want to create true suspense, then you have to have true characters. It was a completely different way of working. It was very
How autobiographical is Omar? I experienced a feeling of paranoia when I was doing Paradise Now. I thought there was a spy in our crew spying for the army. Maybe there was no traitor but you start to believe this is the case. Second, a friend of mine was once approached by the Secret Service in order to get him to collaborate. If they didn’t, they would reveal his secret — something about his sexuality. What impact did your Oscar
nomination for Paradise Now have on your career? My expectation was a small release in Europe. I never thought it would reach the US. Being on the red carpet, it was very funny to be part of the circuit. It meant a lot to me personally. I was suddenly a recognised international film-maker and had a lot of offers to direct movies. And what does it mean for the Arab world? A lot, I think. There’s huge talent in the Arab world. I don’t believe I was the first one who deserved to get a nomination. In Egypt there are a lot of good film-makers. An injustice has been done by not recognising them because of the politics. Geoffrey Macnab
December 7, 2013 Screen International at Dubai 5 n
DIFF overview, page 8
Omar Reviewed by Dan Fainaru
Probably the first fiction feature to exclusively fly the Palestinian flag, the new film from Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) combines elements featured in previous films dealing with the IsraeliPalestinian conflict but does a good job of putting them in the right context. With a cast consisting almost entirely of young, inexperienced talents, Abu-Assad delivers an effective, credible drama for an international audience and should find its way into worldwide distribution. The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes Film Festival this summer, and has since played at other major international film festivals. The story takes place in an Arab village split right down the middle by the notorious concrete wall built by Israel for security reasons. Omar (Bakri) lives on one side of it, but his sweetheart, Nadja (Lubany), who still goes to school, lives on the other side. Nadia’s older brother Tarek (Hourani) and their neighbour Amjad (Bisharat), are Omar’s childhood friends, and the three take part in an attack on an Israeli garrison close to the village. They shoot an Israeli soldier and take flight, but a few days later the border police break into Omar’s home and arrest him. He is thrown in jail, beaten
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Pal. 2013. 98mins Director/screenplay Hany Abu-Assad Production company ZBros International sales The Match Factory, www. the-match-factory.com Producers Waleed F Zuaiter, David Gerson, Hany Abu-Assad Cinematography Ehab Assal Editors Martin Brinkler, Eyas Salman Production designer Nael Kanj Main cast Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Samer Bisharat, Eyad Hourani, Waleed F Zuaiter
DIFF dailies editor and Asia editor Liz Shackleton firstname.lastname@example.org Group head of production and art Mark Mowbray mark.mowbray@ screendaily.com Reporter Nandita Dutta nandita@ dearcinema.com
up and tortured to reveal the identity of his friends, and when he refuses he is told he faces a life term in prison unless he agrees to lead the Israelis to the real culprits. Desperate to see his girl again and to regain his freedom, Omar finally agrees. But as soon as he meets again with Tarek and Amjad, they under-
Reporter Melanie Goodfellow melanie. email@example.com Reviews editor Mark Adams +44 7834 902 528 firstname.lastname@example.org DIFF Young Journalist Award Colin Brown +971 55 608 1303 colinbrown1@ earthlink.net)
stand they have to eliminate the informant among them, agreeing there must be one otherwise Omar would not have been apprehended in the first place. The grain of mistrust has been planted and the conflict between the former friends builds up with every scene, as each one suspects the others. Israeli interference only fuels the crisis that separates them, with Amjad’s attempt to steal Nadja away from Omar throwing another spanner into the works. After a certain point the plot starts to become entangled in its own twists, some of which are predictable, others somewhat far-fetched. But AbuAssad navigates confidently around the potholes, keeping the story tightly knit. And from the Palestinian side he adds in the political aspects and details required to establish the necessary background. Adam Bakri has a strong camera presence and Leem Lubany’s expressive eyes often deliver messages beyond the dialogue, while Waleed F Zuaiter, the only experienced actor in the cast — and one of the film’s producers — manages to lend the sinister Israeli agent Rami an almost human quality. Israelis may very well claim that procedures, uniforms and the conduct of security forces are not quite accurate, while Palestinians may not like the reference to so many informants in their midst. But if both sides complain, it is probable that AbuAssad did something right.
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December 6, 2013 Screen International at Dubai 7 n
Cate Blanchett, who will return to the IWC jury, at last year’s event
Dubai goes back to its roots Dubai International Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary by shining the spotlight on Arab cinema. Liz Shackleton reports
n 8 Screen International at Dubai December 6, 2013
t is now official that the young, ambitious film festivals in the Gulf are not quite so young any more. The oldest among them, Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), is turning 10 this year. Since its first edition in 2004, a new Arab cinema has begun to emerge and make its presence felt at an international level, a transformation that has been made possible partly by festivals like DIFF. The festival has introduced many new initiatives and partnerships to celebrate its 10th anniversary — including the launch of the Cinematic Innovation Summit (CIS), an annual conference to discuss the impact of technology on the film industry, and a tie-up with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) — both of which highlight DIFF’s links with Hollywood and the wider global film industry. But the anniversary will also be an opportunity for DIFF to celebrate and take stock of the current state of film-making in the Arab world. “We’ve made the conscious decision that the
best way to celebrate is to go back to our roots and push something that we’ve always been behind, which is Arab cinema,” says DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma, who has been with the festival since 2004. “Our celebration this year is really focusing on Arab film-makers and Arab cinema, while continuing the work we do in Dubai Film Market, and bringing in good international films along with stars.” The Arab focus is reflected on several fronts. DIFF is opening with Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar — the first time an Arab film has opened the festival since Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now kicked off proceedings in 2005. The festival has also compiled a list of the best 100 Arab films of all time, following a survey among 475 leading critics, writers and academics, and published the results in a book, Cinema Of Passion, which also analyses the history of Arab cinema. Chadi Abdel Salem’s The Mummy (1969) tops the list and will screen at the close of DIFF. In addition, leading Egyptian film critic Samir Farid will
DUBAI FILM MARKET, PAGE 11
DIFF’S COMPETITION LINE-UP
‘About 40% of the film-makers in the Arab programme are women, which is great to see’ Shivani Pandya, DIFF
Rock The Casbah
receive one of DIFF’s lifetime achievement awards. Arab cinema is also celebrated across the wider programme. DIFF is screening 174 features, documentaries and shorts, of which more than 100 are from the Arab world. In addition to the Muhr Arab competition (see sidebar), the festival will host two red-carpet gala screenings for Arab films — the world premiere of Mohamed Khan’s Factory Girl and Laïla Marrakchi’s Rock The Casbah, which premiered at Toronto. DIFF also has more world premieres this year — 70 compared to 49 in 2012 — most of which are for Arabic-language films. “We’re also seeing the largest number of women film-makers presenting their films at DIFF — about 40% of the film-makers in the Arab programme are women, which is great to see,” says DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya. “We’ve also seen an increase in world premieres because many people have kept their films for us. They realise that with the combination of press, industry and market, we’ve become a leading destination for Arab films.”
International affair But the Arab focus will not be taking attention away from international cinema and stars. Two red-carpet screenings will be held each day to celebrate DIFF’s 10th edition — in addition to the Arab films, galas also include Disney animation Frozen and 3D adventure Walking With Dinosaurs, along with acclaimed titles such as Labor Day, 12 Years A Slave, Fruitvale Station, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox. David O Russell’s American Hustle will close the festival. Talent expected to walk the red carpet includes Martin Sheen, who will receive a lifetime achievement award; Cate Blanchett, who returns to Dubai for the second year to head the jury of the IWC Filmmaker Award; and Rooney Mara and Mark Ruffalo who will attend the annual Oxfam and Dubai Cares charity event. Elsewhere in the programming, the Muhr AsiaAfrica competition will screen films that have taken the festival circuit by storm, such as Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo and Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs, along with world premieres such as Mostofa S Farooki’s Ant Story (see sidebar). The Cinemas of the World line-up includes films such as Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty and Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man.
Underpinning all this activity are DIFF’s strong industry programmes under the banner of the Dubai Film Market, which have directly contributed to the development of Arab cinema over the past six years (see page 11). This year’s Film Forum includes two sessions in association with AMPAS — ‘Beyond The Oscars’, providing an overview of AMPAS activities, and ‘An Academy Conversation on Directing’ with Shekhar Kapur and Ava DuVernay (Middle Of Nowhere). “We’re also working on a programme where we will eventually be taking films from the Arab world and with the assistance of AMPAS screening them in the US,” says Pandya. Co-organised with Seattle-based Center for New Cinema and France’s Naseba, CIS (December 5-6) features speakers such as Pixar co-founder Alvy Ray Smith, Lava Bear Films CEO David Linde and actors Andy Serkis and Stephen Lang. Held at Atlantis, The Palm, the event features interactive demonstrations of new technology in addition to panels and networking sessions. DIFF is also expanding its activities for the public this year. A series of free public screenings will be held at Burj Park, including Mahmoud Kaabour’s documentary Champ Of The Camp, about a Bollywood singing competition in Dubai’s labour camps, which will be introduced by Bollywood star Jaaved Jaffrey. The festival has also tied up with Art Dubai and Sharjah Art Foundation on a series of screenings and installations that examine the relationship between art and cinema. Looking back over the festival’s past 10 years, Juma says it is achieving its goals of balancing glamour and industry initiatives with support for regional film-makers. “We’ve been talking for a very long time about our sincerity and the way we feel about Arab cinema. We hope that in the past 10 years, we’ve proved to ourselves and to film-makers how much we respect this cinema and look forward to seeing it s flourish,” Juma says. ■ (Right) Closing film American Hustle
At the heart of DIFF’s programming are its three competition sections: Muhr Arab, Muhr AsiaAfrica and Muhr Emirati. The Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica sections are further divided into features, documentaries and shorts, while Muhr Emirati will showcase 15 films across all formats. This year, a record 90 films will compete for more than $575,000 in prize money. Jim Sheridan is heading the Muhr Arab feature competition jury, while veteran Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah leads the jury for Muhr Arab documentary. The jury for the three categories of short films — Arab, AsiaAfrica and Emirati — will be headed by Tunisian film-maker Nouri Bouzid. This year’s Muhr Arab feature line-up includes several titles from Morocco, including new wave director Jillali Ferhati’s Pillow Secrets and two omnibus films, Void and The Mice Room. The Muhr Arab Documentary line-up includes Mais Darwazah’s poetic documentary My Love Awaits Me By The Sea and Yemeni film-maker Sara Ishaq’s The Mulberry House. DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma points to the current strength of Arab documentary: “We are seeing more professionalism in the delivery of these films, and in terms of form and subject matter they’re really pushing into new areas.”
MUHR ARAB FEATURES
Adios Carmen Mohamed Amin Benamraoui (Mor-Bel-UAE) Challat Of Tunis Kaouther Ben Hania (Tun-Fr-Can-UAE) Factory Girl Mohammed Khan (Egypt-UAE) Ladder To Damascus Mohamed Malas (Syria-Leb-Qatar) May In The Summer Cherien Dabis (Jord-Qat-US) Omar Hany Abu-Assad (Pal-UAE) The Mice Room Nermeen Salem, Mohamed Zedan, Mohamad El-Hadidi, Mayye Zayed, Hend Bakr, Ahmed Magdy Morsy (Egypt-UAE) Palestine Stereo Rashid Masharawi (Pal-UAE-Nor-Fr-Tun-It-Switz) Pillow Secrets Jillali Ferhati (Mor-Qatar) The Proof Amor Hakkar (Alg-Fr-UAE) Rock The Casbah Laila Marrakchi (Fr-Mor) Sotto Voce Kamal Kamal (Mor-UAE) Stable Unstable Mahmoud Hojeij (Leb-Qatar) They Are the Dogs Hicham Lasri (Mor) Void Tarek Korkomaz, Zeina Makki, Jad Beyrouthy, Christelle Ighniades, Salim Haber, Maria Abdel Karim, Naji Bechara (Leb)
MUHR ARAB DOCUMENTARIES
Birds Of September Sarah Francis (Leb-Qat) Bloody Beans Narimane Mari Benamer (Alg-Fr) Guardians Of Time Lost Diala Kachmar (Leb-UAE) Heritages Philippe Aractingi (Leb-UAE) My Love Awaits Me By The Sea Mais Darwazah (Jord-Ger-Pal-Qat) My Name Is Mostafa Khamis Mohamed Elkaliouby (Egypt-UAE) The Mulberry House Sara Ishaq (Egypt-Syria-UK-Yemen-UAE) The River Abdenour Zahzah (Alg-UAE-Neth) Scheherazade’s Diary Zeina Daccache (Leb) Searching For Saris Jinan Coulter (Pal-UAE) The Square Jehane Noujaim (US-Egypt) Underground On The Surface Salma Al Tarzi (Egypt) Waves Ahmed Nour (Egypt) Walls And People Dalila Ennadre (Mor-UAE-Alg-Fr-Qat) War Reporter Mohamed Amine Boukhris (Tun)
MUHR ASIAAFRICA FEATURES
Ant Story Mostofa S Farooki (Bang) Durban Poison Andrew Worsdale (S Afr) Fish And Cat Shahram Mokri (Iran) Grigris Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Fr-Chad) Ilo Ilo Anthony Chen (Sing) The Lunchbox Ritesh Batra (India-Fr-Ger) Stray Dogs Tsai Ming-liang (Fr-Tai) Thou Gild’st The Even Onur Unlu (Tur) Thuy Kim Jae-han (S Kor) Under The Starry Sky Dyana Gaye (Fr-Sen)
December 6, 2013 Screen International at Dubai 9 ■
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DUBAI FILM MARKET FEATURE
DUBAI FILM CONNECTION THE LINE-UP
FICTION A Reverence For Spiders Faiza Ambah (S Arabia) Bastard Uda Benyamina (Mor) Chedda Damien Ounouri (Alg) Gaza, DC Rashid Masharawi (Pal) God Protect My Daughter Leyla Bouzid (Tun) Heatwave Joyce A Nashawati (Leb) Kharouf Ahmed Ibrahim (Egypt) Trees Also Die Rabih El-Amine (Leb) Until The End Of Time Yasmine Chouikh (Alg) Men In The Sun Mahdi Fleifel (Pal) The Flag Firas Khoury (Pal)
Walls And People previously took part in Dubai Film Connection
Fishing for talent Dubai Film Market is expanding, with an increase in exhibitors and the introduction of the Dubai Docs initiative. Liz Shackleton reports hile Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) showcases completed Arab films, the accompanying Dubai Film Market (DFM) has been responsible for getting many of these titles into production in the first place. This year’s DIFF programme includes three films that previously took part in DFM’s projects market, Dubai Film Connection: Mohamed Khan’s Factory Girl, Abdenour Zahzah’s The River and Dalila Ennadre’s Walls And People. Three of the region’s foreign-language Oscar submissions — Lebanon’s Blind Intersections, Wadjda from Saudi Arabia and Palestine’s Omar, which is opening DIFF — were supported by DFM initiatives. DFM supports films through several different programmes: co-production markets Dubai Film Connection and Interchange, the IWC Filmmaker Award, post-production and production fund Enjaaz and trading platform Filmmart. This year the market has also launched new initiative Dubai Docs, which aims to raise awareness of creative, as opposed to journalistic, documentary film-making in the Arab world. “Creative documentaries is one of the areas that is most difficult to get funded both in the region and internationally so the idea is to get feedback from international experts on what film-makers need to do to get funding and get their projects made,” says Jane Williams, director of Dubai Film Connection and Film Forum. DFM is working with five partners on Dubai Docs’ three-day training and talent development
programme (December 10-12): the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), DOCmed, Screen Institute Beirut, Germany’s Robert Bosch Foundation and Denmark’s CPH:DOX Lab. Seven project teams will receive training in pitching while a larger group will be given insights into how commissioning editors work. The event will also introduce international professionals to creative documentary film-making in the Arab world. Dubai Film Connection (DFC) has selected 16 features and documentaries to present to potential investors, sales agents and co-producers (see sidebar). “We received a lot of submissions from Algeria this year, which is a new development,” says Williams. “We also received projects from young talent attached to short films in the DIFF line-up. So we have a mix of established and new film-makers, which is what we want.” DFM’s Filmmart is also set for further expansion this year, with the number of exhibition booths increasing from eight to 30. Exhibitors include regional players Dubai Film and Television Commission, Abu Dhabi’s twofour54, Doha Film Institute and Jordan’s Royal Film Commission, along with a French pavilion organised by Unifrance, the Ile de France Film Commission and broadcaster TV5. Filmmart’s digital video library Cinetech will screen titles from the DIFF and Gulf Film Festival line-ups, along with films from DFM-registered sales agents and exhibitors. Cinetech will also screen 10 titles from DFM partners Venice Film
‘We have a mix of established and new filmmakers, which is what we want’ Jane Williams, Dubai Film Connection and Film Forum
Dangerous Profiles Mark Lotfy (Egypt) Even To China Dirs: Yanis Koussim, Mohamed Hireche (Alg) Illusion Bavi Yassin (Iraq) The Forgotten Ghada Terawi (Pal) The True Story Behind Me Maryam S Jum’a (Jor)
Festival, Cannes Market’s Doc Corner and the Biarritz Latin American film festival. The market expects around 1,700 buyers, sellers and producers; similar to last year. “We’ve had more requests from international professionals, but Ventana Sur has postponed its dates [December 3-6], which makes it a bit more difficult for some buyers to attend,” says DFM international business manager Pascal Diot. DFM is also providing a platform for distribution network MEDIS, pulling together around 20 distributors from across the Arab world. Spearheaded by the EU’s Euromed Audiovisual Programme, MEDIS was launched at DFM last year and will hold a general assembly at this year’s market on December 11. Euromed will also hold a panel on tackling piracy during DFM’s Film Forum. The seven-day seminar and networking programme (December 7-13) also includes sessions with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Art Dubai and Sharjah Art Foundation, along with regional and s international industry players. ■
Lebanon’s Oscar submission, Blind Intersections
December 6, 2013 Screen International at Dubai 11 ■
BFI Stills Posters & Designs
in memoriam Sheila Whitaker
Sheila Whitaker, a tribute This year’s festival is without Sheila Whitaker (1936-2013), DIFF’s former head of international programming and a beloved figure of the festival world, who died earlier this year. She is remembered here by her friend and former colleague, Mark Adams
ne of the many great shames about the passing of Sheila Whitaker earlier this year was that she didn’t get to see the 10th anniversary of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). A passionate and enthusiastic film curator and programmer, she was at the heart of the festival’s launch back in 2004 and over the subsequent years brought taste, commitment and intellectual vigour to an international programme, celebrating not only Arab cinema but the best the film world had to offer. Over the rollercoaster nine years of her involvement in DIFF and in her final role of director of international programming, she displayed the thoughtful, astute and often delightfully eclectic programming taste that had defined her career, drawing in films from around the world to present an always exciting, entertaining and sometimes challenging programme. Masoud Amralla Al Ali, artistic director of DIFF, speaks eloquently of her importance to the festival and to him: “I knew Sheila to be meticulous, clear, understanding, opinionated, professional and passionate,” he says. “She dedicated her life to understanding the emerging cinema… the Arab cinema, and Iran, and Latin America. She engaged with the people of those regions, with their culture and true nature. She knew them well and she formed so many friendships.” For many who have worked in the international film industry for a number of years, meeting and becoming friends with Sheila would be a highpoint. She always knew what she liked and what was important to her film-wise, but was always open to other opinions. Her time at Dubai — which
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Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF artistic director, pictured left, watches on as Sheila Whitaker is presented with her People That Make A DIFFerence award by DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma in 2010
she relished with a passion — was the culmination of a striking career during which she more than made her mark on the film world. After stints at the UK’s National Film Archive Collection and as director of Tyneside Cinema, she became head of programme planning at the British Film Institute’s National Film Theatre (NFT). In 1987 she combined her NFT work with becoming director of London Film Festival (LFF), holding both roles until 1990. From that point on she acted solely as LFF director until 1996, helping the event to grow in international standing and expanding it into a fully fledged London-wide festival. Like many, I first got to know Sheila when she ran LFF. As Variety’s UK film correspondent at the time, I would spend hours at LFF screenings (and the legendary parties up in what was then called NFT3, essentially a small party room and now
offices), relishing the broad programme and even broader mix of guests and friends. I had a stint as head of programming at NFT while Sheila was running LFF, and as the years have passed we always kept in touch, swapping film suggestions — she was then at DIFF and I was buying films for the ICA’s cinema division — and having long chats at various festivals. She was always a keen supporter of Arab cinema and also wrote extensively, both on cinema and on women’s issues, always eloquent and passionate, and with her trademark genial good humour. When I arrived at DIFF — both as a film buyer and latterly as a reviewer — she would always have a list of titles I should see and went out of her way to introduce film-makers and industry folk. At DIFF 2012, Sheila and I had the pleasure of taking part in one of the juries, which meant we bumped into each other more often at parties and events. The early signs of her illness were just starting to show, but her commitment to the festival was unbreakable and as always she was a whirlwind of friendship and good nature as she weaved her way between film friends, staff and festival first-timers. Shortly after, Sheila, aged just 77, was diagnosed as having the indications of motor neuron disease. With friends and colleagues supporting her she tackled it with expected grace and fortitude, eventually dying at home on July 29. She leaves a tangible legacy in terms of her programming, writing and the impact on a series of film institutions around the world. But her greater impact is in the hearts and minds of those of us s lucky to call her our friend. n
jim sheridan profile
Sheridan on jury duty Jim Sheridan, president of the Muhr Arab feature competition jury, is the Oscar-nominated director of In The Name Of The Father and My Left Foot, with other credits that include The Boxer and In America. He is the co-founder of production company Hell’s Kitchen and is one of the most influential figures in the Irish film industry. He talks to Geoffrey Macnab How well do you know the Arab film industry? My film Brothers played in Dubai [in 2009]. I’ve always been interested in movies out of the Arab world, from Fassbinder’s Fear Eats The Soul and Pontecorvo’s Battle Of Algiers to Lion Of The Desert, with Anthony Quinn and Oliver Reed. There are very few of them but that’s getting better. It’s important not to have a one-culture movie industry. I am going to start an Arab Film Festival in Dublin.
When will that happen? I’ve put a little money in myself and I am trying to raise a little bit more to do it next April.
What draws you to the sport?
You’ve collaborated several times with Daniel Day-Lewis. Are you still in touch with him and have you encountered other actors who show the same dedication to their roles?
I have horses. I was lucky enough to buy a horse for very small money that turned into a superstar. He won four Group 1 races and he won the Irish St Leger four times in a row. His name was Vinnie Roe, named after a relative of my wife.
He’s kind of a one-off because of his intensity. He has a poetic sensibility where it is all or nothing. He is amazingly committed. We talk, we’re still friends. It’s just that I’ve never found a role for him, a role that suits him. If I did, I’d love to work with him.
What is it like seeing your horse win a big race? It’s intoxicating. You don’t do anything. You don’t train it, you don’t ride it but you feel ownership. There’s something about those gorgeous animals that is very empathetic.
What are you most looking forward to about jury duty at DIFF?
How do you see the prospects for the Irish film industry at the moment? Has it suffered in the economic crisis?
It can be difficult because you don’t want to disappoint people who have made good movies but in general, it’s fun. You see new cultures. I am looking forward to seeing Dubai. The Dubai people help the Irish horse racing industry a lot and I love horse racing.
The truth is movies are in trouble throughout the world. It’s not just Irish cinema. That big Hollywood machine, that’s a very hungry animal and it eats up screens. Now, it’s almost like what happened to European cinema is happening to independent American cinema. They’re disappearing.
‘It’s important not to have a one-culture movie industry’ Jim Sheridan, film-maker
Did you enjoy making a genre film and working with Daniel Craig on Dream House? Daniel Craig is very good in the movie but… I couldn’t get to tell the one I wanted, which would have been much more of a family haunted story.
What are you working on now? I am doing a movie about growing up in Dublin and I have a movie that’s set at sea that people tell me is very hard to make. It’s called Left For Dead. It’s about a British sailor who got caught in the Fastnet yacht race [in 1979] where a lot of s people died. n
Sheridan and Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of The Boxer
In The Name Of The Father
December 6, 2013 Screen International at Dubai 13 n
Andy Lau in Switch
Reach for the skies High-profile international productions are starting to make use of Dubai’s burgeoning facilities and bespoke financing options. But where are the Arab feature film-makers? Colin Brown reports ere’s a teaser for you: what does China’s superstar Andy Lau have in common with one of Bollywood’s own screen icons, Shah Rukh Khan? Both actors headlined lavishly endowed international films that were filmed recently in Dubai to take advantage of its architectural landmarks and its escalating production support apparatus. A 300-strong crew was stationed in Dubai in 2012 for Switch, China’s $20m state-produced globe-trotting heist thriller that saw Lau plunge from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, and drive a speeding car through the lobby of Atlantis, The Palm, the hotel resort on the emirate’s famed palm-shaped island. In case those tourist-baiting attractions were lost on the affluent Asian consumer, there is even a scene on an Emirates A380 aircraft. Khan’s latest ensemble comedy, the $12m Happy New Year, in which he stars opposite Deepika Padukone and Abhishek Bachchan, marked an even bigger challenge to Dubai’s nascent filmmaking infrastructure. As the first international film to be shot almost entirely within the desert city-state, it provided a full test for the new Dubai Film & TV Commission even before shooting began this September.
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“We had to learn the logistics,” the commission’s chairman Jamal Al Sharif told UAE newspaper The National. “Normally we’ve only dealt with a maximum of 40 people who come to do a dance scene in two to five days.” For Happy New Year, as many as 180 rooms had to be booked for cast and crew at Atlantis, The Palm, where the climatic scenes also take place, in order to accommodate 25 shooting days in Dubai — roughly 80%-90% of a production schedule that culminated in Mumbai. Working with Khan’s Red Chillies production outfit for almost a year, the commission smoothed the way for incentives from Dubai International Airport, Emirates Airlines and the immigration authorities. It also facilitated elaborate scenes that include a song-and-dance skating number on the Olympic-sized ice rink in the world’s largest mall — yes, only in Dubai. “It is not just the shopping capital of the Middle East,” enthused an appreciative Khan at a press conference during filming, “but a perfect location for a film shoot” — one where he and other highwattage Bollywood stars are not subjected to nearly the same level of public hysteria they receive back home. Initial estimates from the commission suggest Happy New Year will return the favour by injecting
$5m back into the UAE economy. The hope is that many more Bollywood films will now be encouraged to shoot in the Gulf region, already one of India’s top film export markets and now also a potential magnet for the sub-continent’s rapidly growing tourism and shopping rupee. Indeed, several Indian films including Ramaiya Vastavaiya, Ladies And Gentleman and Mental starring Salman Khan, have all shot scenes in Dubai this year.
‘Distribution is an issue since almost 90% of Arab films screened in local regional festivals never reach a regular audience’ Khalid Al Mahmood, film-maker and DIFF programmer
Customised incentives Unlike neighbouring Abu Dhabi, with its 30% cashback rebate, Dubai does not offer a formal production incentive. Instead, Dubai tries to leverage its status as a tax-free destination and puts together customisable packages of soft and hard incentives, glamorous perks and rebates of up to 20% that are individually geared to the scale of the production needs in Dubai. The enticements include a fixed rate of $4,100 (aed15,000) per day for shooting in all of Dubai’s private venues — such as the Burj Khalifa or Burj Al Arab — and the commission’s help in securing the relevant shooting permissions. Dubai also boasts the UAE’s most extensive production facilities. Al Sharif says Dubai has invested close to $270m (aed1bn) building an abundant film-making infrastructure that includes sound
Shooting in Dubai feature
(Left) Hany Abu Assad’s DIFF opener Omar (Right) Dubai Film & TV Commission’s Jamal Al Sharif, standing right, collaborated with Shah Rukh Khan, centre, on Red Chillies’ Happy New Year
When I Saw You
stages, boutique studios and production office spaces that revolve around Dubai Studio City. Here you will find as many as 342 companies, of which 190 are production houses. Nearing completion within that sprawling complex is 65,000 sq ft of stage area. Two stages, each of 25,000 sq ft and boasting water tanks for underwater shoots, will be separated by a large ‘elephant door’ that will allow them to be used jointly as one giant column-free sound-proofed structure unmatched as yet in the Middle East and North Africa. The first completed stage — encompassing 15,000 sq ft and boasting Stargate Studios’ visual effects and virtual production technologies — is reportedly already in use by MBC Arab satellite broadcast network for a local-language drama series set in an entirely re-created world. How soon Arab-language feature-film productions will also flow to Dubai Studio City alongside those TV dramas and commercials depends on how quickly the region’s film-making community can build on the developmental foundations that have been put in place over the past decade by government-sponsored festival organisations in the UAE and Qatar. Certainly, the signs are positive. Where once Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha all pursued overlapping and seemingly competitive agendas, there is now greater harmony across the Gulf — and the wider Arab-speaking world. The three power-players now perform to their respective strengths and where necessary will recommend one another in pursuit of common goals. Tellingly, this year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival featured a panel on which Image Nation creative executive Jason Mirch shared the stage with Dubai Film Market manager Samr Al Marzooqi and Doha
Film Institute film-financing grants manager Khalil Benkirane to discuss Arab cinema’s money issues. In this newfound spirit of co-ordination, Benkirane went so far as to propose these festivals’ gatekeepers stop demanding regional premieres from films as a pre-condition for tapping into their various funding initiatives.
Regional choice Already a growing succession of films have drawn on enough Arab financing sources to complicate the choice of Arab premiere. Annemarie Jacir’s When I Saw You benefited from grants by both Abu Dhabi’s Sanad and DIFF’s Dubai Film Connection, as well as $10,100 from the local crowd-donation platform Aflamnah. For her film Wadjda, director Haifaa Al Mansour combined money from German broadcasters and regional film funds with early backing from Rotana, the Royal Film Commission Jordan, a script award from Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Sundance Institute and Dubai Film Market’s Enjaaz fund. DIFF opener, Hany Abu Assad’s Omar, winner of the Jury Prize at Un Certain Regard in Cannes this year, received 5% of its $2m budget from Enjaaz during pre-production, with the rest coming from various Palestinian business sources that included two brothers of co-star Waleed Zuaiter who happen to be investment bankers. While pointing to a pan-regional Arab future, such financing patchworks stop short of the fully fledged cross-border partnerships familiar to European film-makers that open their door to wider commercial distribution beyond the festival circuit. “The big three Arab festivals have certainly helped Arab films, regardless of their origin, come
‘My decision to produce an Emirati film wasn’t driven by business or market needs, it was simply the natural way to set up the production’ Mohamed Hefzy, producer
to fruition in what could be called a form of co-production,” observes Emirati film-maker Khalid Al Mahmood, who is also a DIFF programmer. “But if you talk about co-productions in terms of big production companies from different countries working together to make a film, we’re still a long way off from that since those companies don’t exist to begin with. “Meanwhile, distribution is a concerning issue right now since almost 90% of Arab films screened in those festivals never reach a regular audience. It would be great if the major Arab festivals tackled this problem but in the end it lies in the hands of cinema owners and distribution sales companies.” A lesson learned from Europe’s past puddings is that forced partnerships are rarely conducive to building an international audience. Co-productions need to feel organic to the story, rather than designed around overtly financial imperatives. Hoping to prove that case will be A To B, a road movie by Dubai-based film-maker Ali F Mostafa, set to shoot in January. As a tale about three Westerneducated Arab youths who travel from Abu Dhabi to Beirut in memory of their deceased friend, the film practically invited multi-national partners. Sure enough, with backing from Abu Dhabi’s twofour54, A To B unites three fast-rising producers from across the Arab-speaking world: Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Turki, Lebanon’s Paul Baboudjian and Egypt’s Mohamed Hefzy. The cast includes Saudi stand-up comic Fahad Albutairi and two hiphop artists, Iraqi-Canadian The Narcicyst and Syrian-American Omar Offendum. While helpful in terms of marketing hooks, such a polyglot stew of edgy talents did not arise out of commercial contrivance. Nor did the film-making team. “My decision to produce an Emirati film wasn’t driven by business or market needs, it was simply the natural way to set up the production, being a story that unravels in the Gulf, and also one directed by an Emirati film-maker,” explains Hefzy, who helped write the screenplay based on Mostafa’s storyline. “That doesn’t mean to say I don’t intend to seek out more projects in that part of the world. I don’t see film production in the UAE reaching the levels of Egypt or Morocco within the next few years, but the region will certainly make progress in terms of getting more films made and more exposure for their films regionally and hopefully internationally.” And, as a happy by-product of such international recognition, the UAE’s own natural and unnatural wonders will enjoy more of their own exposure in front of the world’s itinerant thrill-seekers and s impulse-buyers. n
December 6, 2013 Screen International at Dubai 9 n
brought to you by DIFF
THEY MADE IT Dubai Film Market’s Enjaaz initiative provides post-production support and helps complete 20 films from this year’s DIFF programme Securing financing is always a key challenge in the film-making process. In the Arab world, although the region’s cinema is enjoying a renaissance, finding the financial means to realise a film, remains one of the toughest obstacles to overcome. Enjaaz, a Dubai Film Market initiative, provides financial support to Arab feature films at the post-production stage. To date, Enjaaz has supported more than 80 Arab and Arab-origin feature film projects, out of which 20, including tonight’s opening film, OMAR, are in this year’s festival programme. OMAR director Hany Abu Assad describes his relationship with DIFF as “special”. His PARADISE NOW opened the festival in 2005, and “Enjaaz’s crucial support helped make OMAR happen.” Mostafa Youssef, producer of THE MULBERRY HOUSE, which also benefitted from Enjaaz support said the options for Arab film finance are limited. “If you compare the financing [options] available for an Arab film to the financing available Mostafa Youssef, producer, THE MULBERRY HOUSE in other countries, you will see that we are very challenged. In Germany, for example, there are regional film funds specific to the area you live in, then there is the general governmental film support, and there is the EU Media fund. These are steady funds which operate regularly and continuously. In the whole Arab region, you have five funds which select five to eight projects per round.” Enjaaz has two cycles per year and also includes the ‘Filmi’ project, launched by Watani to support Emirati talent.
“Real market financing is truly missing for independent Arab films.”
Youssef added that the amounts provided by the funds are also not significant. “They hardly help get the film made. I think the basic problem is the absence of an Arab market for independent and art-house films, let alone genres like creative or hybrid documentaries.” The challenge also lies in the medium. “You can raise USD5 million for a television series much easier than you can raise USD0.5 million for a feature film.” THE MULBERRY HOUSE is in the Muhr Arab Documentary competition. It spans over a year and a half of the director’s life, following the developments in the family dynamics from the start of the revolution in Yemen, making it a difficult film to edit. “The Enjaaz support came at the end of the postproduction stage when we had run out of financing. We needed to make the final cut, sound mix and colour grading…so it helped us finish the last steps.” On finding a lasting solution for film finance, Youssef said that while government and institutional funding is imperative, industry professionals must not lose sight of the future. “Film remains a very expensive medium, especially if you are targeting high professional standards. When this funding will no longer be available, how can we create a sustainable revenue stream which works well for independent films as it does for commercial works.”
ENJAAZ FILMS AT DIFF
BAGHDAD NIGHT Dir: Furat Al Jamil An Iraqi taxi driver finds himself trapped into eternal servitude after he picks up a mysterious woman. DEC 7 at 15:45 MoE6
DEC 9 at 12:45 MoE 6
ADIOS CARMEN Dir: Mohamed Amin Benamraoui As young Amar awaits his mother’s return from Belgium, he is introduced to the world of cinema through his neighbour Carmen.
CHALLAT OF TUNIS Dir: Kaouther Ben Hania A moped rider prowls the streets of Tunis, razor blade in hand, with a mission: to slash the derrieres of women.
DEC 9 at 21:15 MoE 12
DEC 11 at 18:00 MT
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DEC 12 at 14:45 MoE 1
DEC 12 19:00 MoE 8
CHOLO Dir: Kaouther Ben Hania When two young brothers meet for the first time, they share a crackling chemistry – in spite of their differences.
THE DAY IS GONE Dir: Rizgar Husen Nasrin struggles at her new job in Iraq, where she works as a housemaid after fleeing the Syrian war.
DEC 7 at 20:45 MoE 9
DEC 7 at 15:45 MoE 6
DEC 9 18:30 MoE 6
DEC 9 at 12:45 MoE 6
DON’T LEAVE ME Dir: Khalid Al Mahmood Layla and Aisha first met as children and even though they fail to recognise each other as adults, they share a connection.
FACTORY GIRL Dir: Mohamed Khan FACTORY GIRL explores the plight of women factory workers in an impoverished neighbourhood in Cairo through a love story gone wrong.
DEC 8 at 21:30 MoE 9
DEC 8 at 20:30 ARENA
DEC 10 at 12:45 MoE 8
DEC 10 at 18:00 MoE 6
GUARDIANS OF TIME LOST Dir: Diala Kachmar A group of young men terrorise a Beirut neighbourhood. The world of these thugs reveals the complexities of Lebanon’s social and political reality.
HERITAGES Dir: Philippe Aractingi An endearing family story that reveals the chaotic history of the Levant, focusing on the journey of those forced into exile.
DEC 7 at 20:15 MoE 11
DEC 10 at 21:30 MoE 12
DEC 10 at 12:15 MoE 11
DEC 12 at 18:15 MoE 11
THE MICE ROOM Dir: Nermeen Salem, Mohamed Zedan, Mohamad El-Hadidi, Mayye Zayed, Hend Bakr , Ahmed Magdy Morsy In Alexandria, a city of ghosts, six lonely souls struggle with their fears.
THE MULBERRY HOUSE Dir: Sara Ishaq Things are changing in the Sana’a house when Sara returns to Yemen as she sets out redefining her relationship with her father and grandfather.
DEC 7 at 21:15 MoE 12
DEC 9 at 18:15 MoE 11
DEC 9 at 15:45 MoE 6
DEC 11 at 15:30 MoE 11
MY NAME IS MOSTAFA KHAMIS Dir: Mohamed Elkaliouby For the first time, historical documents are brought to light from the 1952 labourers’ strike in Kafr el-Dawar, where some of the workers faced execution.
PALESTINE STEREO Dir: Rashid Masharawi Disillusioned with their life Palestine, Samy and his older brother Milad (aka Stereo) raise money for Canada by renting out a sound system.
DEC 9 at 21:00 MoE 11
DEC 10 at 18:15 MT
DEC 11 at 12:45 MoE 6
DEC 12 at 21:30 MoE 12
THE PROOF Dir: Amor Hakkar A man discovers he cannot have children and must choose between holding on to his wife or his secret.
RED BLUE YELLOW Dir: Nujoom Al Ghanem The untold stories of Najat Makki, UAE’s first female artist.
DEC 10 at 18:30 MoE 12
DEC 9 at 18:15 MoE 12
DEC 12 at 21:45 MoE 7
DEC 11 at 20:00 SOTG
THE RIVER Dir: Abdenour Zahzah Filmed along the 60 kilometres of the Oued El Kebir River, the film presents a lesser known side of Algeria.
SEARCHING FOR SARIS Dir: Jinan Coulter Weaving together the voices of refugees and the stories of displaced families, the film examines the Palestinian dispossession in 1948 and its continually unfolding chapters.
DEC 10 at 18:30 MoE 11
DEC 8 at 18:30 MoE 11
DEC 12 at 12:30 MoE 11
DEC 10 at 15:30 MoE 11
SOTTO VOCE Dir: Kamal Kamal Moussa helps refugees across Algeria into Morocco, but this time, he must travel along the Morice line, a 430 mile-long belt that is electrified and surrounded by mine fields.
WALLS AND PEOPLE Dir: Dalila Ennadre Embodied by a compelling voice, the city of Casablanca reveals the universal stories of its inhabitants.
DEC 8 at 21:15 MoE 12
DEC 11 at 18:45 MoE 10
DEC 11 at 21:00 MoE 7
DEC 12 at 21:00 MoE 10
December 6, 2013 Screen International at Dubai 17 ■