Get your popcorn and ball gowns ready for DIFF 2014's glamorous red carpet galas

Published December 8th, 2014 - 08:59 GMT
This year's DIFF galas promise an international line-up of films. (Image: Google)
This year's DIFF galas promise an international line-up of films. (Image: Google)

The eleventh Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) will showcase a slate of daily red carpet galas, where the glamour and excitement of the world of cinema is in full force.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director said: “The list of gala films is a cross-section of the international film industry in 2014; we have a number of regional productions that will satisfy appetites for Arabic cinema, as well as big box office draws that will allow UAE residents to see the year’s biggest films, including two films from the UAE and Bahrain”.

The first red carpet Gala is The Water Diviner, which sees Russell Crowe returning to his Australian roots in his directorial debut. One hundred years after the First World War, the tragic antipodean losses at the Battle of Gallipoli are still commemorated each year. Crowe plays a father who travels to Turkey after the battle to find his three missing sons. The second gala of the day is Dearest, the latest by Hong Kong directing sensation Peter Ho-Sun Chan. Based on a true story, the film topped the box office in mainland China with its touching and candid treatment of the very real problem of child abductions.

Three galas will take place on Friday, December 12, starting with the first Children’s Gala Paper Planes, a touching 3D family drama from Australian director Robert Connolly. The film follows a young boy who joins forces with his estranged father to compete in the World Paper Planes competition in Tokyo. Later on Friday,Boychoir, a crowd-pleasing musical from acclaimed Quebecois director Francois Girard, stars Dustin Hoffman as a demanding music teacher who pushes a newly orphaned young boy to pursue his passion for singing. Finally, Dolphins, shortlisted this year for the Muhr Feature Award and IWC Filmmaker Award-winning film by Emirati director Waleed Al Shehhi follows three intertwined stories.

On Saturday, December 13, festival-goers will be treated to a second Children’s Gala, Santa Claus by Alexandre Coffre which follows six-year-old Antoine who wants to take a sleigh ride through the sky with Father Christmas. The second gala, the directorial debut of Italian actor Andrea Di Stefano, Escobar: Paradise Lost is a melodrama about notorious Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar played by Benicio del Toro. The third gala will be The Sleeping Tree, directed by Bahraini director Mohammed Rashed Buali, which was short-listed for the 2012 IWC Filmmaker Award and supported by DIFF’s Enjaaz programme and Emirates NBD. The film is set in the heart of a contemporary Bahraini family struggling with the serious illness of their daughter.

On Sunday, December 14, the prolific Egyptian director Daoud Abdel Sayed presents his latest feature Out of the Ordinary, shortlisted for the Muhr Feature Award, which follows a new and untraditional story that hasn’t been introduced in Arab cinema before. When his scientific investigation of the paranormal yields naught, Yehia takes a forced vacation from his work and regular life.

The first gala on Monday, December 15,is Wild Tales, the Argentine entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar. Co-produced by Spanish cinema legend Pedro Almodovar, it is comprised of six short films united by the theme of vengeance. The second gala is the world premiere of Amir Ramses’ Cairo Time, also an anthology film, which tells three stories that take place in Cairo over a single day in the lives of a retired actress, a young divorcee, and a drug dealer on the run. The film features legends of Egyptian cinema, including this year’s DIFF Lifetime Achievement Award honouree Nour El-Sherif.

On Tuesday, December 16, red carpet gala presents The Imitation Game, by Morten Tyldum, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII.

The humorous and heartfelt musical Into the Woods an international premiere will close the curtain on the 11th edition of the Festival. Featuring an all star cast including Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine, the film blends classic stories from Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. Into the Woods is directed by acclaimed director Rob Marshall.

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