Five UAE films to be screened at film festival

DUBAI — As part of the Dubai International Film Festival, a showcase of UAE cinema will be screened to the public and Festival delegates from around the world on Thursday, December 9, announced Festival organisers at Dubai Media City yesterday.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 6 Dec 2004, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:23 PM

Three of the four short films are in Arabic with English subtitles, one is a silent work and the feature film is in English with Arabic subtitles.

The UAE Special Event, featuring the works of five emerging Emirati directors, comprises four short films and one feature film. Together, the films provide an overview of UAE society and the range of UAE cinema, said Festival programmer Masoud Amralla Al Ali, adding that they are a must-see viewing for both expatriates in the country and visitors from abroad.

"My intention in selecting films for this special showcase was to show a variety of our films and different aspects of our society," said Amralla, Founder-Director of the Emirates Film Competition and programmer of the Festival's Arabian Nights segment.

In many ways, Amralla's task was made difficult by an embarrassment of cinematic riches.

"The hardest thing to do is when you have two beautiful films and you have to say 'no' to one of them," he said. "I chose to present an overall view of the UAE society and cinema, and that meant saying no to many promising films and filmmakers," he said.

The four shorts — Aushba's Well, Cigarettes, Jawhara and Wet Tiles — reflect the past, present and future of the country and different cinematic styles, he added.

Aushba's Well, from Ras Al Khaimah-based Director Waleed Al Shehhi, is a portrait of the natural landscape, a reflection on the nature of dreams and how they affect reality and vice versa. Aushba's Well goes back to the UAE of the 1970s, and also looks at the physical diversity of our land," explained Amralla. "Al Shehhi is an accomplished director, and Aushba's Well is almost poetic in the way it is composed."

Cigarettes are the story of a modern career woman's conflict between her successful careers as a TV presenter and her love for a man. Its director, Mohammed Al Traifi, won a special mention at this year's Emirates Film Competition.

Jawhara, the award-winning film from Dubai director Hani Al Shaibani, tells the story of a child who struggles between two different worlds. The film won the Best Short Film prizes at the Emirates Film Competition and the Mideast Film Festival in Beirut, plus a special mention at the Carthage Film Festival.

Lastly, Wet Tiles, from 22-year-old director Lamya Hussain Gargash examines a mysterious relationship between a man and a woman.

"The Festival's UAE Special Event is a wonderful opportunity for the UAE community and the rest of the world to see what our national filmmaking community can achieve," Amralla added. Wet Tiles, for example, is an entirely experimental film that evolved out of a university project while Cigarettes has a completely unique sense of humour. By choosing these films, I wanted to show that we don't only do drama, that we make social films, light-hearted films and introspective films."

The feature film Unveiling Dubai will also be shown at the UAE Special Event, and is included in the Festival's "Operation Cultural Bridge" flagship programme. Directed by UAE national Nayla Al Khaja, the documentary-style feature depicts Dubai as seen through the eyes of a first-time visitor from the West.

"In many ways, Unveiling Dubai is at the heart of the Festival because it raises the question of bridging cultures, and shows how Dubai is the right place for such an initiative," said Neil Stephenson, Festival Director and CEO. "What makes it even more special is that this bridge-building film has been created by a UAE woman director."

"We first thought of programming this film in either the "Arabian Shorts" or "Arabian Nights" segment, but then we realised it was a perfect fit in "Operation Cultural Bridge"," Stephenson added.

U. A. E special event on Dec 9

DUBAI — The Festival's UAE Special Event will begin at 5.30pm on Thursday, December 9, at the Madinat Theatre and will begin with an introduction to the directors and end with a Q&A session to enable members of the audience to engage with the five directors.

Three DIFF box offices are currently open for business. Additional box offices will open today at the Madinat Arena, and at the Auditorium at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel on December 8. Prices for the four open-air “Screen on the Green” films (Lawrence of Arabia, the Filipino spoof Gagamboy (Spiderman), Mr India and Five Children and It) at the Dubai Media City amphitheatre are Dh10.

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