Line-up of films for GFF’s 7th edition announced

Dubai, United Arab Emirates


With the unveiling of the first wave of films selected for this year’s programme, the Gulf Film Festival (GFF), the festival dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the best in Arab cinema, is preparing to present a vast selection of cutting-edge films to audiences in the UAE.

The seventh edition of GFF, scheduled to run from April 9th through to the 15th, will take place at DUCTAC (Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre), Dubai’s only non-profit art centre, and Vox Cinemas, both based in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai.

The initial line-up of films is a true representation of the burgeoning talent in the region and provides a unique opportunity for audiences to see an extensive selection of films. A diverse array of premieres will be announced in the coming weeks.

Winner of “Best Film” in DIFF’s Muhr Short Competition, Bavi Yassin’s The Lost Voice follows Salma, a famous Iraqi singer who is forced to leave her native country, and ends up in an asylum centre in Belgium. The reality of her situation hits her only when she meets Hassan, also a young Iraqi refugee. Only through a relationship with Hassan, a young refugee she is able to see other things worth living for. The Mulberry House is an intensely personal documentation of the journey taken by its director, Sara Ishaq, back to her father’s house in Yemen after several years. Arriving at the heart of an emerging revolution, she redefines her place in Yemeni society, as well as her relationship with her father and grandfather.

From the UAE, Red, Blue, Yellow by Nujoom Al Ghanem is an intimate portrait of the pioneering Emirati female artist Najat Makki, recognised not only for her talent but also for the role she plays in society. Her art and name have become a legacy, and her life is a rich journey that is as colorful as her paintings.  Don’t Judge a Subject by its Photograph by Emirati director Ali Mostafa was commissioned by The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority’s as part of their campaign, ‘Soul of Dubai’ to showcase the dynamic growth of the city as well as its cultural diversity, unique identity and heritage. The short film follows Maha, a gallerist in Dubai who tries to convince a famous Indian art critic that the UAE arts scene is alive and buzzing.

Supported by Enjaaz, the festivals production funding programme Cholo, by Omani director Muzna Almusafer, depicts what happens when dark-skinned, 11-year-old Cholo meets his fair-skinned brother Abdullah for the first time, when their father Said arrives in Muscat from Zanzibar. Winner of “Best Film” in the Muhr Emirati competition at DIFF last year, Khalid Al Mahmood’s Don’t Leave Me, follows two girls who were once childhood friends and meet in adulthood through unfortunate circumstances. Though they do not recognize each other, they share a connection.

Ulaano Salim’s My Brother is a drama centered around two friends who find themselves submerged in the criminal world of Copenhagen. The film is about friendship and the trials it can endure. Hamad Al-Tourah’s Playtime tells the story of Matthew, a 10-year-old British expat living with his mother in Kuwait. One night, when his mother leaves him alone, Matthew finds company in Dalal, a Kuwaiti girl who lives down the street, and eventually makes a plan to escape with Dalal.

Haider Rashid returns to the short form with The Deep, wherein a young Iraqi man’s dream to play football is twisted by a life in a crime-ridden country and his struggle for survival after he runs away from what seems to be his only path in life. Rashid picked up the ‘Special Jury Prize’ in the Muhr Arab Short Competition at DIFF’s 10th edition.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Gulf Film Festival Director said: “The seventh edition of the Gulf Film Festival presents a rich collection of productions that have captured the attention of the regional filmmaking community over the past year. Demonstrating the significant growth of the industry in the Middle East, these films are compelling and thought-provoking, masterfully telling the stories of the people through the art of cinema.”

“The festival’s new home, DUCTAC places a strong focus on showcasing the work of emerging artists and providing a platform for artistic dialogue, perfectly complementing GFF’s visions of promoting the creative and cultural development of the GCC’s budding film scene” he added.

Entry to all films is free of charge. For more details, please visit http://gulffilmfest.com

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