Mohammed Al Hushki’s Jordanian film "Transit Cities"
The Dubai International Film Festival will present a selection of award-winning Emirati and Arab films in London this month, as part of Shubbak, the city’s first-ever celebration of contemporary Arab culture.
At least seven award-winning films from DIFF 2010 and the fourth edition of the Gulf Film Festival will screen at Shubbak, giving audiences in London an insight into evolving Arab cinema and the Arab world through the eyes of its filmmakers. Organized by the Mayor of London, the Shubbak festival includes more than 70 arts events in more than 30 venues across the city from July 4 to 24.
On Thursday, July 14, DIFF and Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) will present an evening of screenings and discussion at Rivington Place, London, reflecting the contemporary Emirati experience. The four Emirati films included in the Iniva programme include director Khalid Al Mahmood’s Sabeel, which scooped first prize at the fourth Gulf Film Festival, and runner up in DIFF’s inaugural Muhr Emirati Awards; Hamad Al Hammadi’s End of December, winner of the third prize in GFF’s Student Competition; Slow Death by Jamal Salim, which received a special mention in GFF’s fourth edition; and Nayla Al Khaja’s Malal (Bored), winner of the Muhr Emirati Awards at DIFF 2010.
The Iniva ‘Take 1/Take 2: Yesterday and Today in the Middle East’ programme will also include a panel discussion led by Kay Dickinson, a lecturer at the University of London and the editor of The Arab Avant Garde, and curator Catherine David, former artistic director for documenta x in Kassel, Germany. The films and discussion are free and open to the public; and will be showcased off-site and virtually.
DIFF has also collaborated with the Mosaic Rooms, a Kensington-based arts space dedicated to progressive and innovative voices in art, literature and film from the Middle East, to screen a selection of new Arab films from July 19 to 23, 2011.
In addition to Sabeel and Malal (Bored), the Mosaic Rooms will screen Mohammed Al Hushki’s Jordanian feature Transit Cities, winner of the prestigious FIPRESCI award and the Muhr Arab special jury prize for feature films at DIFF 2010; Palestinian-Netherlands co-production This Is My Picture When I was Dead, Mahmoud Al Massad’s winner of the Muhr Arab Documentary prize at DIFF 2010; Syrian-Qatari co-production Damascus Roof and Tales of Paradise by Soudade Kaadan, which scooped the runner-up award in the Muhr Arab Documentary last year.
Both Transit Cities and Damascus Roof and Tales of Paradise made their world premiere at DIFF 2010; This is My Picture When I Was Dead is one of the many successful projects driven by the Dubai Film Connection, the co-production market of the Dubai International Film Festival.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “Films are a powerful, universal medium that help address cultural misconceptions and give an authentic picture of contemporary social realities.
Our partnerships with Iniva and Mosaic Rooms are an extension of our long-standing goals to build cultural bridges through film, and to showcase the best of Arab filmmaking to the rest of the world. We are honoured to play a role in Shubbak and in depicting contemporary Arab culture in London, and to create this opportunity for our filmmakers to reach out to a wider international audience.”
The Shubbak festival features a wide-range of programmes including visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, lectures and discussions themed to the Arab world. Contemporary Arab artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers and architects based in London and around the world will participate in the event. Other DIFF films featured in the festival include Egyptian drama Microphone, screening on July 8.