The Dubai International Film Festival is returning for the 2017 edition this December, when the city will celebrate major international cinema for its 14th edition between Wednesday December 6 and Wednesday 13.
Each year the city is taken over by the huge festival, which sees some of the world’s biggest stars coming to town. It celebrates Hollywood, international and regional films with a range of independent Arabic movies being recognised as well as the latest blockbusters. Expect huge cinema and red carpet events, premieres, outdoor screenings and more across the week-long festival.
Recent years have seen the likes of Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson grace the red carpet, and the line-up of huge events, movies and actors coming to town has been announced at a live event at Jumeirah’s Mina A’Salam hotel – which confirmed that legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart will be honoured for his lifetime contribution to the industry.
Over the course of the eight-day festival, fans can expect to see a whole array of Oscar contenders across 140 films, 51 countries, filmed in 38 languages. There will be short films, long features and documentaries, 59 different film competitions, 15 huge gala events and more.
Fifty-nine Arabic films will be screened throughout the festival, which will aim to highlight the enormous array of talent both in front of and behind the camera available throughout the region.
Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of DIFF, said film will cross the city this year, and will give every resident and tourist the opportunity to find a movie they love, almost wherever they are.
“We spent a lot of time going to find the best films to bring to the audience here in Dubai and the UAE,” he said. “We bring around 4,000 people who love, talk and breathe cinema, and we’re bringing that to the city. If you don’t want to go to the mall to a cinema, and want to be at the beach, film will find you there. Things are changing technologically – now you can see your movies on your mobile, TV, on Emirates Airlines, but that doesn’t replace the actual beautiful moment you spend in a dark room watching that room – with a lot of people, but you’re actually alone in a way. That’s the beauty of cinema.”
There will also be a special focus on British film, and a culture share featuring some classic film institutes and personalities from the country, including the BFI – which will be hosting a writers’ workshop, plus a BAFTA costume design masterclass run by legendary designer Alexandra Byrne.
American Wild West era movie Hostiles, starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, will be opening this year’s festival, which Juma refers to as “thoroughly beautiful” in its portrayal of love, anger, hope, the loss of hope, and protection.
Closing the cinema festival will be Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – a world exclusive screening before anywhere else across the planet. “It’s probably the most anticipated movie this year, and we’re very excited to be bringing it to Star Wars fans in the Middle East.”
Free movies will be lined up at the open-air cinema found at The Beach opposite JBR from Wednesday December 6 until December 13 including Beyond The Clouds, Mountain, Grain of Sand, The Man Behind The Microphone, Where To?, Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards, The Bachelors, plus a restored version of 1930s classic King Kong.
Many movies screened at The Beach will also have live performances to accompany them, so there are plenty of brilliant reasons to head down to JBR during DIFF 2017.
At the start of each year, a range of actors, film makers and anyone with an outstanding contribution to cinema are honoured, and this year is no different. At the start of the festival, legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart will be rewarded for his acting credits across nearly 150 movies, including not just his live action movies, but also the range of voiceover and animation work he’s been involved with.
Wahid Hamid, who has been producing script for Arab TV and cinema for more than 40 years, will also be rewarded, as will Irrfan Khan, one of the biggest names in Indian cinema.
Throughout the festival, you’ll be able to get tickets for many of the major movie screenings, including the early screening of Star Wars and Hostiles, by heading online to www.dubaifilmfest.com. Early bird rates (with a Dhs35 discount) will apply if you get in early, with packages for multiple screenings starting from Dhs250 for ten movies. Screenings will be available at Vox Cinemas, Madinat Jumeirah (Theatre and Souk) and The Beach.
Box office opens on Friday November 24.
Other major movies being screened across the festival include:
December 7 – Orchestra Class
December 8 – Ferdinand
December 8 – The Death of Stalin
December 8 – Sweet Country
December 9 – Shock and Awe
December 9 – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
December 9 – The Disaster Artist
December 10 – the Shape of Water
December 11 – Induced Labor
December 11 – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
December 12 – You Were Never Really Here
December 12 – Downsizing
Dec 6-13. Various locations across Dubai, www.dubaifilmfest.com.