The Philosopher, a short film directed by Fujairah-born national Abdulla AlKaabi and starring A-list international screen and stage veteran Jean Reno of La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional and Mission: Impossible fame, will screen in Dubai as part of DIFF’s seventh edition taking place from December 12 to 19, 2010.
Shot in Paris earlier this year with more than 80 cast and crew at a cost of €200,000, AlKaabi’s debut film features the cream of French cinema, including producer Cyril Deleye, who has worked alongside legendary directors Luc Besson and Roman Polanksi; executive producer Bernard Grenet of Danny the Dog, The Fifth Element and Taxi fame; and 81-year-old screenwriter Sylvette Baudrot, whose six-decade career includes working alongside Alfred Hitchcock.
“The Dubai International Film Festival is the reason behind this film,” the 24-year-old AlKaabi told a media briefing today. “DIFF gave many talented nationals a window into the international film industry, and made us believe in ourselves as filmmakers and in the UAE as home to a viable film industry.” He and his team worked around DIFF’s timings to ensure the short film would be ready to debut in Dubai, AlKaabi added.
The Muhr Awards for Emirati Filmmakers competition, introduced earlier this year, marks seven years of the Festival’s steadily growing commitment to national talent. It joins DIFF’s existing Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica competitions, offering cash prizes and accolades in feature, documentary and short film categories.
DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said there has been a strong response to the segment this year. Its entire line-up will be unveiled closer to the December 12 – 19 Festival. “We are very happy to see more and more Emirati names make their way into the international industry and do very well for themselves,” Al Ali said. “DIFF has always championed Arab film at every stage of growth from talent development to global networking, financing and screenings, beginning right here at home.”
“We are confident Abdulla AlKaabi is a rising talent and we believe his impressive short will inspire and encourage many others,” he added.
Shivani Pandya, DIFF Managing Director, said: “In 2004, the inaugural edition of the Festival fielded a special UAE event featuring four short films and a feature film from Emirati filmmakers. DIFF has escalated its support and showcase of national talent every year since, matching the growing talent base in the UAE, and the Muhr Emirati competition is a continuation of that tradition. We are proud to have played even a small role in the international success of our homegrown talent, and will continue to develop the dedicated space for Emirati filmmakers at DIFF.”
The Philosopher is based on Baggio’s Story, a short story by Charlie Fish, about a man determined to give up everything he owns but finds out it’s not as easy as it seems.
The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF. Registration for DIFF 2010 is now open at www.dubaifilmfest.com.