Saturday 28th November 2015
The UAE film industry has confirmed that 12 titles from UAE filmmakers have been selected for exhibition at the Muhr Emirati Competition as part of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2015. The compelling line-up includes five feature films, the most feature films ever to be selected in this category, and a further seven shorts and documentaries, all vying for the top spot during the 12th edition of the Festival from 9-16 December.
The unprecedented number of features in this year’s category is testament to the increasing number of talented filmmakers in the UAE, explains DIFF’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali: “Now in its 12th year, we have seen the Arab film industry and global interest in it develop at rapid pace. This year we are delighted to see the highest number of feature films ever in the Muhr Emirati category, which is tangible proof of the growth of the Emirati film industry in recent years.”
“DIFF is committed to providing a platform for local filmmakers to showcase their talent to the region and across the world and it is our hope that the intense competition for the Muhr Emirati films will continue to enrich the film industry in the Emirates and encourage young and aspiring filmmakers,” he added.
Highly anticipated debut feature film ‘Zinzana’ (Rattle the Cage), from Emirati director Majid Al Ansari, has been making waves in the industry. Produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, this neo-noir thriller is set in a small town police station, where Talal (Saleh Bakri) is held for an unknown crime. Talal’s interrogator, Dabaan (Ali Suliman), sets in motion a series of events that result in a cat and mouse game with life and death stakes. A truly unique premise and masterful handling of the genre from Al Ansari results in a film that is certain to be a hit with audiences at DIFF with stellar performances from Saleh Bakri, Ali Suliman, Ahd, Ali Al-Jabri, Abdullah Bou Abed, and Mansoor Al Feeli.
Named ‘Most Promising Filmmaker’ at DIFF in 2009, Manal Ali Bin Amro presents the world premiere of her film ‘Smell of Bread’, supported by the Dubai Film Markets post-production programme Enjaaz. Discussing the desire for normality, the film tells the story of a hearing-impaired child whose quiet life baking bread with her family is thrown into disarray after she is attacked and her family members refuse to acknowledge it. The film stars Mariam Sultan, Ashjan, Ghanem Nasser, Khalid Dehiab, Hassan Belhon and Labiba Laith.
Winner of the Muhr Emirati Competition at DIFF 2014 for ‘The Other Dimension’, Aisha Al-Zaabi returns with her latest short film ‘My Dear Home with Love’ in its first global show. Reeling from the move away from her childhood home, nine-year-old Fatima embarks on a dangerous journey to find her old home and dear friend Sara. Along the way, she gains a new friend and travel companion in Khalid and faces a shocking surprise before she can reach her destination. The film features exceptional performances from Mariam Muhsin and Saleh Al Jasmi.
Gifted filmmaker Ali Bin Matar returns to the Muhr Emirati Competition with the world premiere of his latest short film, ‘The Man Who Saw Snow in the Summer’. The film illustrates the hardships of the working class through the eyes of a laundry man who is exploited by his selfish employer in order to gain profits.
Winner of the 2008 Muhr Emirati Competition, acclaimed director Saeed Salmeen Al Murry returns with his heart-warming world premiere feature, ‘Going to Heaven’, supported in collaboration by Enjaaz and Filmi. Shortlisted for the IWC Filmmaker Award in 2014 and winner of the Ministry of Interior’s Cinema Award, the touching film follows the life of Sultan, an 11-year-old boy, who is longing for the tenderness of his late yet ever-present grandmother while suffering under the reign of his cruel stepmother. Sultan embarks on a memorable journey with a friend to re-live the memories he experienced with his beloved grandmother. The film stars Abdullah Masoud, Fatima Al Taei, Mariam Sultan, Jumaa Al Zaabi, Ahmed Al Zaabi and Abdullah Al Junaibi.
Joining the line-up is the world premiere of Tarek Alkazim’s, ‘The Man Who Met an Angel’. Since his encounter with an angel, Daniel has believed in helping others. However, everything comes to a sudden halt when his beliefs are challenged by a mysterious man and secrets begin to unravel. This compelling film focuses on motivation and lengths a man is willing to go to prove himself right.
The world premiere of feature film ‘Abdullah’, from director Humaid Al Suwaidi, will pull on heartstrings. Tackling the conflict between ambition and tradition, the film follows the aspirations of a young Emirati whose only dream is to become a musician, with breakout performances from Mansour Al Feeli, Fatima Al Taei, Alaa Shaker and Hamaid Alawadi. However, as the years pass by, his deep passion for music becomes harder to conceal from his religious family.
Also set for its world premiere is ‘Open Wound’ from gifted filmmaker Sarra Alshehhi. A captivating short film about revenge and confrontation, it tells the story of Nadia who pursues a career in boxing with the sole purpose of challenging her uncle who subjected her to abuse. However, when she finally gets the chance at a family gathering Nadia must decide if she is capable of executing her plan.
Award winning filmmaker Abdulla Al Kaabi, who burst onto the scene in 2010 with his debut ‘The Philosopher’, brings the world premiere of his first feature supported by Enjaaz to the big screen – ‘Only Men Go to the Grave’. Tracing the mysterious life of a blind widow, her family goes through lengths to unravel the secrets of her past after her accidental death.
Award-winning documentary ‘Omnia’ will join the Muhr Emirati Competition from director Amena Al Nowais. The short follows 32-year-old receptionist Omnia as she struggles with questions of love, femininity and consent sprung from the harrowing ‘purification’ ceremony she underwent as a young girl.
Alongside ‘Omnia’ is filmmaker Nasser Aldhaheri’s documentary feature ‘A Tale of Water and Palm Trees’. Celebrating its world premiere, the film is a deep-rooted journey in the UAE’s land, people and culture, through the trilogy of water, palm trees and people. A tribute to the memory of those who worked to make the UAE what it is today, ‘A Tale of Water and Palm Trees’ is a reminder to future generations that today’s prosperity was made by the sweat and blood of the ancestors who carved rock for water, and cultivated palm trees for life.
Completing the line-up is a film that challenges the ethical standards in the region. Multi-award winning filmmaker Abdulrahman Al Madani will showcase the world premiere of his latest film ‘Beshkara’, slang for the word ‘maid’. After the beloved child of a Filipino caretaker is diagnosed with a terminal illness, her only desire is to return to her native country to spend what little time she has left with her dying daughter, but will her employer allow her to leave?
The Muhr Emirati Competition will take place at the 12th annual Dubai International Film Festival, December 9th - 16th, 2015, with the winners being announced on December 16th. For more information and to purchase ticket bundle packages please visit: https://dubaifilmfest.com