The legacy of renowned Egyptian actor Omar Sharif will be celebrated at the 12th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) this December through the world premiere screening of his last film, ‘1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham’.
Sharif, whose passing in July saddened the world of film and beyond, came out of retirement to support the short film from award-winning director and producer Ahmed Salim, which will be screened twice at this year’s DIFF, said a statement.
It will form the final part of the 15-strong line-up of films in the Muhr Gulf Shorts category at the Festival, it said.
The UK and UAE co-produced film focuses on the scientific journey of 11th Century Arab polymath and philosopher Ibn Al-Haytham. It follows his journey to discover the nature of light and vision, which helped set the foundation for modern science and named him the father of experimental physics, modern optics and scientific methodology, as well as a grandfather of the camera obscura – the device that forms the basis of photography and cinematography.
The story was one close to Sharif’s heart, who studied physics before embarking on his groundbreaking film career. Taking the lead role in the short film, Sharif guides younger audiences through a partly animated storyline of Ibn Al-Haytham’s journey into understanding vision.
As one whose life in and out of film was responsible for great strides in Arab cinema both in the region and across the globe, Sharif collaborated with UK-based organisation 1001 Inventions to showcase the importance and amazing possibilities following your dreams can offer. Salim dedicated the short to this legacy after Sharif’s passing.
‘1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham’ will be joining the Muhr Gulf Shorts line-up, which each year showcases the best of regional talent and cinematic courage.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s artistic director, said: “We were deeply saddened by the passing of Omar Sharif, whose career and life has left a lasting impact on the film industry and beyond.
"DIFF awarded Omar Sharif with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award during the first edition in 2004, and today with his great strides in Arab cinema it is very fitting that we honour his last film in the Muhr Gulf Short Film category, which we strive to ensure showcases the best talent and ingenuity from across the region and to the wider cinematic world.”
“I am truly honoured that our short film will have its World Premiere in Dubai but saddened that Omar Sharif will not be with us. Ibn Al-Haytham’s inspirational life and his contributions to our world deserved to be appreciated by everyone especially the world of cinema and photography. This film attempts to honour his legacy and I hope it will engage the hearts and minds of millions of young people around the world,” Salim added.
The film has been officially endorsed by the United Nations proclaimed “International Year of Light” and will be part of an Ibn Al-Haytham global campaign led by Salim in partnership with Unesco and 1001 Inventions that includes exhibits, books, live shows and learning materials.
Check out the trailer for Sharif's final film:
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