DIFF honours ten Arab talents and filmmakers

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2013 Dubai International Film Festival - Day 1

During last night’s opening ceremony of its tenth edition, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) honoured ten Arab Cinema talents including directors, actors and directors of photography, for their distinguished contributions in the top 100 films of Arab Cinema. This followed the November 6th announcement of the selection which was compiled following an extensive voting process that included 475 key Arab film critics, professionals and cultural figures from all across the Region.

His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented the honourees with their accolades live on stage prior to the DIFF Gala opening night screening of Omar.

In the selection of the top 100 films of Arab Cinema, Dubai International Film Festival continues its efforts to support the Arab Cinema and highlight its past and present achievements. “This initiative, in conjunction with the upcoming Cinema of Passion book, rounds up the best in Arab cinema through deep criticism and analysis of Arab Cinema throughout history. It aims to highlight the rich history of Arab film and focuses on key Arab cinema milestones,” says Festival Chairman Abdulhamid Juma. “Since its launch in 2004, the Dubai International Film Festival has centred all its efforts on supporting Arab cinema, and I can say with all pride and confidence that we have successfully contributed to the development of Arab Cinema with a range of initiatives which celebrated its present and future. And today, the top 100 Arab film list and “Cinema of Passion” book serves as a link between the present and the future of Arab cinema, and its past and its history. ”

“It is a great privilege to honour talented Arab cinema figures this year. We see it as a necessary step to shed the light on the major achievements of these filmmakers and their remarkable contributions to the Arab cinema, and also share glorious moments with these cinematic figures as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of this international festival,” he added.

The films were selected according to two criteria: Initially films were ranked into the top ten and then those whose contributions appeared in at least three films in the top 100 selected films regardless of the specialty they excelled in.

Four honourees were selected due to their films being chosen in the first ten films in the DIFF 100 Arab Films. Actor Ezzat El Alaili will be honoured for his role in Youssef Chahine’s film “The Land” (1969) which ranked fourth with 139 votes. In addition to his many distinguished roles in additional films which were chosen in the top 100 Arab films including “The Collar and the Bracelet” (El Towk Wa El Eswera), “The Water-Carrier Is Dead” (Al-saqqa mat) and “An Egyptian Citizen” (Al-Mowaten Masri) for late Salah Abouseif. The Tunisian director and Editor Moufida Tlatli will be honoured for her film “The Silence of the Palaces” (Samt el qusur) (1994) which ranked fifth with 120 votes. In addition to her contribution in editing five films appearing in the list: “Boy of the Terraces”(Asfour Stah) for Ferid Boughedir, “Omar Qatlato” for Merzak Allouache, “Wanderers of the Desert” (El-haimoune) for Nasser Khemir, “Fertile Memory” (Al Dhakira al Khasba) for Michel Khleifi and “Letters from Two Prisons” (Rasael Min Sejnane) for Abdellatif Ben Ammar.

The festival also honoured the Syrian director Mohammed Malas for his film “Dreams of the City”  (Ahlam Al Madina) (1983) which ranked sixth, in addition to his film “The Night”(Allail) (1992) which was ranked 26th. The festival also honours the Lebanese actress Carmen Lebbos for playing the role of the mother in Ziad Dwairy’s “West Beirut” (1998) ranked 9th with 80 votes.

The Egyptian director Mohammad Khan was honoured for three films that were ranked in the top 100 Arab films: “The Wife of an Important Man” (Zawgat Ragol Mohem), “Dreams of Hind and Camellia” (Ahlam Hind W Camelia) and “The Artful” (El Harrif).” Besides Khan, two directors of photography who were in charge of filming the biggest number of movies in the list will be also honoured: First, Ramsees Marzouk, director of photography in “Chaos, this is” (Heyya Fawda), “The Emigrant (Al-mohager), “Violets Are Blue” (Lieah ya banafsieg), Heena Maysara, and “Mercedes”. Second, the director of photography Tariq Telmesani for “The Palm Root (Erk el-balah), “The Collar and the Bracelet” (El Towk Wa El Eswera),”I Love Cinema” (Baheb el cima), “Bitter Day, Sweet Day” (Yom mor..yom helw) and “An Egyptian Citizen” (Al-Mowaten Masri).

The star Ahmed Bedier, known for his nice roles in each of the “The Collar and the Bracelet” (El Towk Wa El Eswera, “The Yacoubian Building” (Omaret yakobean), “The Emigrant” (Al-mohager), and Heena Maysara. The Egyptian Actress Yursa will be also honoured for her wonderful roles in each of “The Yacoubian Building” (Omaret yakobean), “The Emigrant” (Al-mohager) and” Mercedes “.

The Kuwaiti filmmaker Khalid Siddiq also joined the list of honourees for his film “Cruel Sea” (Bas ya Bahar) which ranked 19th by winning 49 votes and it represents the gulf cinema experience.

Speaking on this occasion, DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “Honouring these talented figures represents a celebration of Arab cinema, as they have made great contributions and added a special value to the history of Arab cinema. This perfectly comes in line with the theme of our festival’s tenth edition, which focuses the festival’s vision, milestones and successes. The festival was, and will, still be providing its full support for Arab cinema and this edition in addition to honouring Arab cinema makers will also screen 103 films from the Arab world including films for a number of the honourees such as Mohammed Malas and Mohammad Khan.”

The Festival in its 10th edition which will be held from 6th to 14th December will screen more than 174 fiction, shorts and documentary features, including 70 World Premieres and 11 International Premieres from 57 countries in 43 languages from both established and upcoming talent over a 9 day celebration of cinema.

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