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Dubai’s 8th run at a DIFF-erent perspective on films

Dubai’s 8th run at a DIFF-erent perspective on films

Eight years on, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) may have created a global profile for itself attracting a handful of indie films but it's still definitely a work in progress.

December 12, 2011 4:51 by

The UAE is fortunate to host the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). It’s well attended and has created enthusiasts among residents. I actually know a couple of people who take time off work just to get the full experience of DIFF.

Truth be told, the eight years of DIFF, this is the first time I’ve attended it. I’ve gotten gala and sponsor invitations in the years before but have declined them either because of bad timing or just because I was not plain interested in clamouring for a glimpse of movie stars.

This year, I decided to take the most low-key approach to attending the festival. I attended randomly picked movies and I’ll try to sit for a handful of panels.

I’ll keep updating this post as I go along.

I must admit I could not attend the Gala Opening, mainly because of a personal occasion I could not miss celebrating with family. But it looks like I was saved by a family birthday, as I’ve heard from a couple of sources that the Opening got a bit messy–a surprise considering the festival organisers should be veterans at this by now.

Some of the complaints? One source told Kipp that she found no help from some of the volunteers during the Opening Night, as they gave her conflicting instructions on where to go to attend the event. After walking about five times back and forth between the Arena and the Theatre in stillettos, she finally got through the right location.

A second source said there were no clear signs for directions to the parking lot. And when they finally parked and got into the helpful shuttle bus, they queued for the red carpet, only to find out that they didn’t make it early enough at 15 minutes before the premier because the main Arena was already full.

While this source said they were more than happy to oblige the volunteers, who led them to a second screening room that had a live feed of the red carpet, she did wonder about the other people in the queue who were demanding refunds for their Gala Opening tickets because they were expecting to get in to main Arena. The tickets, I know as much, are non-refundable, but transferrable.

Anyway, once our source got seated in the second theatre, there was about 5 seconds of Tom Cruise on the livefeed in the second theatre and then an organiser went in front of the audience to say that there is some delay before the film can be shown. Apparently a new programme is being used and there were some technical difficulties. So much for rehearsals, sometimes these things can’t be helped, we suppose.

An hour into waiting, the film finally started. But my source and her friends decided to fly to coop and enjoy a hearty dinner somewhere in Madinat Jumeirah–perhaps the moral of the story is the Jumeirah Group always wins.

But of course even the most veteran of event organisers will know that anything can happen in a live show. These inconveniences were eventually put behind when the after party by the beach started. And so that’s how DIFF started it’s eight year.

So far it’s been going through the paces and there doesn’t seem to have been any major glitches since the Opening Night. The Bollywood themed gala on the second day was held at the Madinat Fort Island. It may have been as packed as we’d expected but it was well-attended. The performance wasn’t captivating we have to say but the actors were gracious, albeit really late–but of course that’s just on-time in celebrity terms.

Gamil Ratib, given a Lifetime Achievement Award at DIFF 2011

As far as the films are concerned, there are a lot of special films and just too many to mention what’s special with each of them. But I made it a point to choose films from different genres that were roughly independent and non-mainstream. (So sorry Hollywood, nothing from you but I doubt you’d notice.)

The array of world cinema–171 movies from 56 nations–in my opinion, is the…(CONTINUED TO NEXT PAGE)

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  1. Plum Endemon on December 13, 2011 9:38 am

    I love the DIFF – this was my 6th year – I would not miss it for the world. Although I didn’t manage to see so many films this year, I would recommend ‘The Awakening’, ‘Warriors of the Rainbow’ and ‘Makan Youa’ad’ (A Place to Go).

  2. MK on December 14, 2011 11:42 am

    I absolutely loved last night’s movie from Thai Director called “P-047″
    It was a little awkward during the Q&A however when the translator wasn’t doing her job right, so the director took charge and started talking in English…which he was much better at!!!
    Overall, really enjoyed DIFF 2011.


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