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What’s the DIFF?

What’s the DIFF?

Dubai’s film festival begins on December 11. A Kipp writer wonders: why does Dubai have a film festival when it only has a handful of Emirati filmmakers?

December 10, 2008 3:09 by



Because it can, that’s why. And in spite of only having a handful of filmmakers in Dubai, a film festival in the Arab world’s most visible city may achieve the festival’s vision: “building cultural understanding through creative achievement in film.” It’s corny, but ‘visions’ usually are.

Besides, as the title of the festival clearly states, the festival is an “international” one. It isn’t based solely on local talent; it touts itself as a platform for filmmakers around the world, with special emphasis on Arab talent. And even though it doesn’t promote local culture as well other festivals do around the world, it provides a glimpse of it, which is far more than what expatriates living in Dubai would’ve experienced otherwise.

So what can you expect from DIFF 2008? Aside from high profile films that have already won awards in other festivals (“The Class,” a Cannes winner), get ready for a amalgamation of amateur movies made by ‘up-and-coming’ Gulf Arab filmmakers, and productions with more mature content by artists keen on expressing themselves.

I haven’t seen the movies, but I’ve read about them. Niloofar, directed by Sabine El Gemayel looks interesting, so does Che (directed by Steven Soderbergh). But alongside good movies, there are bound to be duds. And when they’re bad, they’re terrible.

I’d know. I’ve sat through a few. –DB



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