The short film from France, "Amsterdam"
Fourteen films from Germany, Turkey, Greece, France, Spain, Brazil, Iran and India will compete for honours at the inaugural International Shorts competition of the fourth Gulf Film Festival, to be held from April 14 to 20, at Dubai Festival City.
Shortlisted from hundreds of global entries, the films are among the 150-plus features, documentaries and shorts from around the region and the world screening for free as part of the Festival. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the festival is the home of bold, experimental and contemporary cinema from the Arabian Peninsula and a showcase of diverse world cinema.
Festival consultant Salah Sermini, said: “Short films from around the world have always been welcome at the Gulf Film Festival, and we created the new competition to create a home for them and simultaneously inspire and challenge our region’s talent to achieve a global standard. We are proud that the Gulf Film Festival is serving as platform to promote cultural dialogue and interaction between the international filmmakers and our regional talent.”
From gritty crime capers to heartbreaking romances, the shortlisted international films promise something for every taste.
From Brazil, Marcos Pimentel’s Taba, winner of the ‘Best Short Movie’ award at the Atlantidoc-Montevideo Documentary Film Festival, follows representatives from different tribes, each fighting to survive in an unequal territory.
Greek director Yorgos Zois’ Casus Belli focuses on people from all walks of life waiting in seven different queues. The first person of each queue becomes the last of the next one, creating an enormous line. The compelling film won the Orizzonti Competition at the Venice Film Festival and multiple awards at the International Drama Film Festival.
Five of the short films in competition are from France. Globally acclaimed short fiction drama Amsterdam by Philippe Etienne follows two young men who realize they are the last two people in the world; Mehdi Alavi’s Parigot features a know-it-all hobo looking for food in Paris and his prey, a delivery man; and Tunisian-French production Heading North by Youssef Chebbe, the story of two smugglers trying to wrap up a human trafficking deal with the Albanian mafia while they’re lost in the middle of nowhere.
Set in Afghanistan, Hameed Ayubi’s Fakir’s Bicycle documents a religious scholar who repairs bicycles for a living, working alongside an old bridge in Kabul, and Mihai Grecu’s video poem Centipede Sun documents the contemporary environmental condition.
From Spain, César and José Esteban Alenda’s The Order of Things narrates the tale of Julia, whose life takes place in a bathtub. Javier Ideami’s The Long Goodbye, is the story of a young man trying to have a last conversation with his dying wife after they meet with a car accident. Winner of ‘Best Song’ at the Jerry Goldsmith Music Awards of the International Music Festival in Spain, the film is guaranteed to soften the most obstinate heart.
Two films from India are also included: Abhay Kumar’s award-winning experimental film Just that sort of a Day follows people randomly, only to find a common thread among them. Chaitanya Tamhane’s Six Strands, partially based on true stories, is a character study inspired by the world famous Darjeeling tea industry and its undisclosed secrets. The film was a winner at the Clemont-Ferrand 2011, the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2011, and the Yes Indian Film Festival, among others.
Other films competing in the International shorts include Germany’s Stranger by Deniz Sözbir, the story of a 23-year old German-Turk criminal, Metin who dreams of wealth and loses his way when he encounters a criminal; and Lights, a comedy about a small-town police officer who dreams of being a hero and creates an opportunity to be one.
Finally, from Iran, And Nothing Else by director Roqiye Tavakoli centres on a woman listening to her grandmother give advice on staying in her marriage. Whether she takes it is another question.
The fourth edition of the Gulf Film Festival will be held at the InterContinental Hotel, Crowne Plaza and Grand Cinemas at Dubai Festival City. The 2011 Festival includes a Gulf competition, student competition, out-of-competition segments including children’s cinema, a master class by renowned director Abbas Kiarostami and other special events. All films are free and open to the public.