Lights, camera, action!

THINK film festivals and the first name that comes to mind is the famous Cannes Film Festival. This is followed by Sundance, London and Berlin and Venice film festivals. But each year, hundreds of such festivals transpire from the African American Women in Cinema March to the Alternative Film Festival, from the Alcala de Henares Film Festival to L’Alternativa Independent Film Festival of Barcelona. In fact, there are so many that you need to make an A-Z listing of them for film buffs.

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Published: Sat 4 Dec 2004, 11:09 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:12 AM

But in 72 hours from now, this city will add another feather to its cap when the Dubai International Film Festival begins to roll. No stone is being left unturned to ensure its success and organisers are confident it will soon become a permanent fixture in the cinematic calendar. Not many of us have had the privilege of attending a film festival and this is the chance for a remarkable experience.

For six solid days, you can rub shoulders with the rich and the famous, directors with established credentials, and celebrities you seldom see face to face. You can then sit back in comfortable movie theatre seats, consume buckets of buttery popcorn and drink a coke while you feast on a remarkable spread of Arabic, Hollywood and Bollywood films. Movies enthusiasts --- over 40,000 are expected to flock to the theatres --- will get a flavour of Cannes right here in Dubai.

The festival fare will include main feature films, sidebar screenings and short Arab films. The Operation Cultural Bridge section of the festival will have films that will, through its stories, build cross-cultural bridges. Films from almost every part of the globe will be screened ensuring there is something for everybody in this city that boasts of over 100 nationalities living in peace and harmony, a reflection that cultural bridges can be bridged.

The launch of an international film festival in Dubai is a wonderful testament to the city’s growth and ongoing development as a community. As has been pointed out by the emirate’s leaders, at a time when Dubai is enjoying great prosperity in the economic sphere, a major cultural event of this scale further enhances the city’s position on the global map.

This is a festival with a difference, it is one that hopes to foster understanding of different cultures and bring together the people of different nations and backgrounds. All of the 75 films that will be screened aim to do precisely that. The DIFF is bound to be a unique film-going experience, the carefully selected movies promising to be both entertaining and educating.

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