Seven Omani films – including five making their global debut – will be screened at the fourth Gulf Film Festival, the home of bold, experimental and contemporary cinema from the Gulf nations, Iraq and Yemen. The Omani slate is part of the 153 films from 31 countries – including 114 films that provide a rare and authentic glimpse into the Arabian peninsula being screened free to the public in Dubai from Thursday April 14 to April 20.
The festival, taking place at Dubai Festival City, is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).
Three of the Omani films are competing in the Festival’s Gulf Competition – Shorts segment. Spices, a world premiere from director Amer Alrawas, surprises with its stories of four individuals at the same moment in time - a barren woman looking for a solution; a 90-year old man waiting for something to happen; a child preparing to change the inevitable; and a blogger.
Khalid Al Khalbani’s The Desert Angels, making its international premiere at the Festival, follows a man who always aspired to eliminate racial discrimination from his life, so that his children can live happily. However, his dream is dissipated when he has to choose between leaving his daughter in the desert or death.
The compelling Human Remains, a Kuwait-Oman co-production directed by Jassim Al Nofaly and Meshal Al Hulail, tells the twin stories of a Kuwaiti ex-prisoner who returns from Guantanamo Bay, an American soldier who escapes the military; their psychological struggles and what happens when they meet. The film will make its international premiere in Dubai.
Four Omani students are also shortlisted for the Festival’s student competition, including Sarmad Abdul Hameed Al-Zoubidy’s animated film Accident, about the impact of accidents and how it affects several unrelated individuals; adventure drama Raneen by Maitham Al Musawi, about a curious young boy who meets a sick girl in a depressing hospital and starts a new friendship; Issa Al Subhi’s Before Sunset, an experimental film, focusing on the life of a child with a disability; and Style by Sultan Al Hussaini, humorously depicts the shifting style preferences of today’s youngsters. All four films will make their world premieres in Dubai.
Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “Inspiring talented youngsters from the region to pursue their ambitions in filmmaking has been one of the founding objectives of the Gulf Film Festival. We are happy to see the region making enormous strides, as demonstrated by the seven films from Oman, which underscore the rich talent base the Gulf region has.”
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 out-of-competition segments, a master class by renowned director Abbas Kiarostami and other special events. All films are free and open to the public.
The festival is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and is held in association with Dubai Studio City. More details on the festival are available online at www.gulffilmfest.com .