Top Stories from Dubai International Film Festival 2016
Samuel L. Jackson and ‘Miss Sloane’ Give Dubai Film Festival Solid Start
The 13th Dubai Intl. Film Festival kicked off Wednesday with Samuel L. Jackson receiving a career award from Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the son of Dubai’s ruler, before tense U.S. political thriller “Miss Sloane” opened the fest with director John Madden in tow.
“I have already campaigned to come back and work in this country,” Jackson said after being greeted with a standing ovation. “Anybody out there who has got a job for a brother, let me know! Anytime you need me, call me. I will see if I can get here,” he added. “Maybe one of my films will be screening here next year.” He will be holding an onstage conversation on Friday.
Also feted with career nods during the opening ceremony were mono-monikered Bollywood star Rekha, and Oscar-winning French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared (“The English Patient”).
Other top international and regional talents sighted strutting down the Madinat Arena red carpet included “Fast and Furious” thesp Tyrese Gibson; Bond girl Olga Kurylenko; Egyptian satirist Bassam Youssef, known as the Jon Stewart of the Arab World; Bollywood stars Ranveer Sing and Vaani Kapoor, in town for the world premiere Thursday of Paris-set Hindi romancer “Befikre”; and Emirati director Ali F Mostafa, whose dystopian thriller “The Worthy” will be having it’s Middle East bow.
FEMALE-CENTRIC FILM AT CORE OF 13TH DIFF
The 13th DIFF is dominated by women this year, whether it be behind camera or on screen as is the case with the fest’s tense thriller opener “Miss Sloane,” starring Jessica Chastain as a ruthless political lobbyist in Washington. It’s boasts world premieres, and mixes the cream of the Arabic crop with the best that’s surfaced on the international circuit, including movies poised to vie for upcoming U.S. awards. This year’s fest has assembled a rich, well-rounded roster with a fresh batch of female-centric films at its core, starting with the Arabian Nights section, which combines films from Arab and non-Arab directors depicting the Arab world.
INTERNATIONAL MARKET MAKES WAVES AT DIFF
The Dubai festival is making strides on its market side thanks to what appears to be a strong lineup of its Dubai Film Connection co-production platform in which 13 promising Arab film projects will vie for funding and networking opportunities provided by what has become the only bona-fide co-production platform in the Middle East.
“We have a lot of returning directors and producers. So it’s pretty nice to see that it helps them,” says DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya, who is launching the Dubai Investors Club, a two-day component of the Dubai mart where high-net-worth individuals from the region will gain insight and connections with people from the international film community to “learn about film financing as an avenue or an investment opportunity.”
Font by Variety E-Show Daily by Nick Vivarelli
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