The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) announced the second slate of impressive titles to feature in the renowned Muhr Gulf Short category. The program is primed to foster the growth of regional talent and place Arab cinema in the international spotlight. Boasting a compelling range of films, all reflective of life in the Gulf today, the filmmakers creatively express their culture, and communicate intimate perspectives through the powerful medium of film.
The first is from Saudi filmmaker Bader Alhomoud who holds many international film awards and is famed for creating cinema that sparks social impact, bringing the world premiere of ‘The Bliss of Being No One’ to the screens of DIFF. Starring Meshal Almutairi and Ibrahim Alhasawi, the captivating story follows a young, lonely man who, after the tragic loss of his family, unexpectedly encounters an elderly man…
Joining Alhomoud with another world premiere from Saudi Arabia to showcase at DIFF, Mohammed Alholayyil’s ‘300KM’ featuring Khaled Saqer, Zara Albalushi, and Ibrahim Alhajjaj, is set to imaginatively confront social controversies. Hailing from a conservative community, a man, woman and child are forced to travel together in a small car to undertake the journey over a 300-km long stretch of road.
Originating from Iraq, Ayman Al-Shatri conveys a deep and intimate story of a suicide bomber with the gripping world premiere ‘Five O’Clock’. Starring Safa Najem and Karam Thamer, the tense story follows a young man who holds a dark and unfair belief, as he partakes on a personal journey, discovering his outlook on life may need to alter.
The world premiere of ‘The Best Life’ from Kuwaiti filmmaker Meqdad Al Kout, showcasing Ahmed Budham, Fatima Hayat, Mousaed Khaled, and Yousef BinAli, is a relatable tale of a man whose mundane life is taken over due to the modern age of technology. Hooked on following a social media celebrity on his mobile, he gets lost within a fantasy world as he becomes obsessed with a person who does not even know of his existence.
Joining Al Kout is Kuwaiti director Ahmad Al Terkait with the world premiere of ‘Aréata’. Following a troubled young woman, Reem, played by actress Nour Al Huda, who is dealing with a serious hair loss condition which is creating a hugely negative impact on her life. Unable to come to terms with her illness, she visits a psychiatrist with the hope of uncovering the mystery behind her illness.
The world premiere of ‘Wake Me Up’ from Saudi director Reem Al-Bayyat, starring Ibrahim Al Hesawi, Samar Al Bayyat, Ahd, Samah, Maher Al Ghanem and Hussein Al Aamer, centers on a woman who is experiencing a midlife crisis. DIFF’s audiences will build empathy for the woman as she cannot help feeling a lurking rejection by society and a sense of internal guilt as she excessively attempts to revive her artistic pastime.
The final title to be announced in the compelling lineup is the transfixing short fiction ‘Kashta’ by talented Qatari director A.J. Al Thani and starring Mansour Al Nahdi, Ahmad Nasser Afif Alyafei and Ali Al Nahdi. A tale of a father who discovers that some accidents cannot be fixed as he takes his two sons out to the desert to teach them the harsh trait of hunting and survival. Under the burning sun and in the heart of the desert severe terrain, the results of the trip do not turn out as he was expecting.
DIFF’s Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali commented on the Gulf lineup: “The Muhr Gulf Short category provides an essential platform for burgeoning Gulf filmmakers to present their inspirational work in the international spotlight. As the filmmakers originate from a range of countries within the Gulf region and draw on narratives from their everyday life, DIFF’s audiences will gain a true representation of life in the Middle East today. The selection of cinema mirror’s the diversity of the Arab world whilst bringing the best of regional talent to the forefront, redefining visual story telling in the region.”
Salah Sermini, DIFF Programmer, added: “The Muhr Gulf Short’s is a nurturing program that recognizes the expertise of Gulf filmmakers, celebrating diversity and showcasing different perspectives. This year’s lineup features some of the most exciting, inspirational and unique short films that express Arabic culture. Sharing stories, which have originated from the Arab world, is the core of DIFF, as a cultural understanding is spread across the globe, helping the world of cinema flourish in the Middle East.”
The 13th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will take place from the December 7th to 14th, 2016.