Legends of the silver screen, established and emerging filmmakers, film fans, gifted actors and actresses, and a diverse array of industry professionals are due to descend on Dubai en-mass this week for the ninth Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) which opens on Sunday.
As one of the Emirates’ most anticipated events, the Festival brings 8 days of star-studded galas, appearances from esteemed international, regional and local celebrities, high-calibre award ceremonies, interactive workshops and a plethora of industry forums, alongside the spectacular line up of 158 films from every corner of the globe.
Opening this year’s Festival is an epic journey of adventure and discovery through the long-awaited Life of Pi, a 3D adaptation of the beloved novel by Yann Martel and helmed by visionary director Ang Lee.
The films young up-and-coming actors Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain and Shravanthi Sainath, who magnificently embodied the stories characters, will be gracing the DIFF red carpet at the gala screening.
At the opening ceremony, which will be attended by high-level dignitaries, DIFF will present its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards to veteran Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdul Aziz and prolific British director Michael Apted. The Festival will close on December 16 with the much-awaited Muhr Awards ceremony.
Commenting on the event, chairman Abdulhamid Juma said: "Year after year, DIFF attracts such a high level of films and filmmakers and I’m delighted to say that the 9th year is no different. With a line-up of 158 films from 61 countries in 43 languages, there is something for everyone at this year’s DIFF."
"Across our screenings, workshops and forums, we look forward to hosting film industry professionals from all over the world and it is our hope that these individuals will help inspire, guide and nurture a future generation of filmmakers," he noted.
“Life of Pi is a film that truly epitomizes the ethos of DIFF's 'Bridging Cultures' mandate. Shot in India, Canada and Taiwan, the epic 3D adventure follows young Pi in a breathtaking debut performance by Suraj Sharma, who we are honored to welcome to Dubai and the Festival," said Juma.
"Hand-picked by Ang Lee from 3,000 actors auditioning for the part, Suraj puts on a performance which brilliantly shows Pi’s courage, hope, fear, sorrow and jubilation, exposing his incredible talent every second of his screen time. Life of Pi is a perfect multi-dimensional and multi-cultural masterpiece to mark the opening of our ninth edition and we are delighted to have the film’s stars walking the DIFF red carpet," he added.
Ahead of travelling to Dubai, Suraj Sharma said: “Life of Pi is a universal story about surviving insurmountable odds and, combined with Ang Lee’s amazing use of the cinematic medium and 3D will resonate with audiences the world over. This is my first film but I am honoured to bring it, alongside my co-stars Adil Hussain and Shravanthi Sainath, to open the DIFF.”
Celebrities expected on the red carpet tomorrow night include: Academy award-winning actress and head of the jury for the IWC Filmmaker Award Cate Blanchett, Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain, Shravanthi Sainath, Freida Pinto, Michael Apted and Ana Ivanovic.
Emirati stars walking the red-carpet include Reem Erahma, Jaber Naghmoush, Habib Gholoum, Haifa Hussein and Mansour Al Feeli.
From Kuwait, stars gracing the opening night include: Haya Abdul Salam, Mahmoud Bou Shahri, Fatima Al Saffi, Bassem Abdul Ameer, Hamad Al Omani, Ibrahim Al Harbi, Abdullah Boushahri, Fouad Ali, Shaima Ali, Aseel Omran and Abdul Aziz Jassem.
From the Arab World celebrities walking the red carpet include: Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Poussy Shalaby, Nelly, Shirine, Amir Karara, Caroline Khalil, Ezzat Abu Ouf, Ghada Adel, Magdy El Hawari, Hany Ramzy, Hassan Hosny, Khaled Al Nabawy, Mohammed Saad, Nermine Al Feki, Salah El Sadany, Sherine Adel, Ismail Al Ojaili, Waleed Tawfik, Samer Ismail, Ramzy Lehner, Mohammed Farrag, Khairy Beshara and Ibrahim El Batout.-TradeArabia News Service