Gellar and Tutu here for closing ceremony

DUBAI — Sarah Michelle Gellar, the Hollywood actress best known for her role as the vampire-slaying Buffy in the TV series of the same name and world renowned statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu arrived yesterday, the former for the Middle East premiere of her new film The Grudge and Tutu for a six-day visit to the city that includes the closing ceremony of the Dubai International Film Festival.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Fri 10 Dec 2004, 12:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:25 PM

Gellar, who has had box-office successes with such films as Cruel Intentions, Scooby Doo and I Know What You Did Last Summer, plays an exchange student who accidentally stumbles into a house of horrors in Japan. The Grudge, equal parts chilling horror and technologically captivating thriller, is the fourth gala premiere of the six-day festival.

Desmond Tutu, the 73-year-old South African cleric, recognised the world over for his moral stand on social and political issues and his anti-apartheid activism in South Africa, will attend the festival's closing gala screening of Red Dust, an intense thriller set during South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation hearings. The film is also a linchpin of the Festival's centerpiece — the "Operation Cultural Bridge" programme.

Neil Stephenson, Festival Director and CEO, said the festival was honoured to have the esteemed leader visit Dubai as its guest, and stated that Tutu's life and work was a testament to the need for bridge building between cultures — one of the Festival's key aims.

"It gives us great pride and honour to have Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu visit the Dubai Inaugural Film Festival," Stephenson said. "The archbishop has always spoken out for truth and justice around the world and particularly in South Africa, and his voice is needed now more than ever."

"We selected Red Dust for the festival because it is the finest new film to emerge from South Africa, a country that personifies cultural dialogue and forgiveness," he added. "We are proud to screen Red Dust as the DIFF's closing gala and honour its message of intercultural reconciliation."

The archbishop, who was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the non-violent struggle for racial equality in South Africa, is beloved around the world for his stand for justice and peace. In more recent years, he accused Israel of practising apartheid in its policies towards the Palestinians; warned that Zimbabwe was sliding into dictatorship under President Robert Mugabe; and earlier this year urged US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to admit they had made a mistake in waging an 'immoral' war in Iraq.

The archbishop Emeritus will attend today’s 8pm closing gala screening of Red Dust at the Arena of the Madinat Jumeirah and remain in Dubai until December 14.

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