1. Jake Gyllenhaal loves Biggie Smalls
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal gave an hour-long ‘In Conversation With’ interview on the final day of the festival where he collected his Variety International Star of the Year award, and spoke about his career, the craft of acting and his inspirations, one of which is the late rapper Biggie Smalls, quoting the rapper’s hit Juicy twice, saying “If you don’t know, you know…”
2. Netflix Arabia launch
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix gave a panel discussion about the company’s plans for its Middle East launch. We can look forward to local original content as well as all the hit TV shows on the subscription service.
3. Shaggy is still bombastic
The choice of Jamaican reggae star Shaggy to close the film festival did, admittedly, have us furrowing our brows in confusion, but when “Mr Lover Lover” took to the stage alongside singer Rayvon, queries were answered. As he performed his hits ‘It wasn’t me’, ‘Angel’ and ‘Mr Bombastic’ with plenty of energy and getting the sophisticated crowd whining and rocking to the reggae beats.
4. Dubai’s animators are world class
The premier of the animated movie Bilal was a highlight that showed off the skill of local producers, directors. The film, produced by Dubai-based Barajoun Entertainment has stunning visuals and animation.
5. Star Trek locations revealed
After mystery, speculation and social media stalking, we were treated to a quick look at some of the behind the scenes of Star Trek Beyond, which was filmed in the city earlier in the year. The minute long teaser showed revealed that the locations in Dubai as JLT, Meydan, JLT, Burj Daman and Dubai Studio City.
6. Terrence Howard can knock up a song in 10 minutes
It can take some musicians weeks, months even to compose a performance worthy piece, but it too Empire TV star Terrence Howard just 10 minutes to write and arrange a song he performed with Palestinian opera singer, Omar, at the Global Gift Gala.
7. Eva Longoria’s engagement
A regular guest of the film festival, Eva Longoria was in town for the Global Gift Gala, but this will be a trip to remember as partner Jose Antonio Baston proposed to her while on a trip in the desert.
8. Michael B. Jordan can rock a kandura
Star of Creed, Michael B. Jordan chose to attend the Global Gift Gala in full traditional Emirati dress. Having fully embraced the culture of the UAE, he and his guests looked very dapper as they arrived at the charity fundraiser.
9. Jaws still packs a crowd 40 years on
40 years since the film was released, crowds still flocked to see Jaws. Actor Richard Dreyfuss flew in to make a special appearance at the screening on The Beach, opposite JBR, and it was one of the most unique events of the festival.
10. Emirati films deserve their spot at the table
DIFF 2015 screened an unprecedented number of Emirati films in the Muhr Emirati competition. 12 feature films s from UAE filmmakers were selected for screened including Majid Al Ansari’s thriller Zinzana which if you missed at the festival, is now out in cinemas.