Dubai Film Festival 2013 & Global Gala Dubai

logoFresh from their recent Expo win, Dubai is currently hosting their annual film festival. 2013 marks the 10th Dubai International Film Festival, which is also the oldest film festival in the Gulf. The film festival is a chance for both local and international films to be showcased, with the Muhr prizes going to the most outstanding talent. This year’s event is from the 6-14th December 2013, and as usual, promises to be a fantastic star-studded experience.

One of the things I enjoy about this festival is it gives me a chance to see many films that I normally wouldn’t watch. I’ve picked out some of my must watch films below. Earlier this year, I set a challenge to watch at least 10 Arabic language films to help me become more familiar with Arabic. Hopefully, I should achieve this target by the end of the year. I’m proud to say I achieved this target without watching one romantic or heavy drama film. Many of the Arabic films I encounter tend to have these themes, and these are not my favourite genres.


If you’re still in Dubai for the end of the DIFF, another great event to attend is the Global Gift Gala. This is the first time that the Gala will be held in the Middle East. On Saturday 14th December, a whole host of stars will be at Supperclub to support several foundations.

I’m really excited about this event! Why? Well, because the local foundation they are working with is Noor Dubai Foundation. Noor Dubai Foundation wants to eradicate preventable forms blindness in the world.

Almost 80% of global blindness is curable. Our efforts focus on the eradication of preventable forms of blindness with a special focus on fighting diseases in developing countries where 90% of the world’s visually impaired reside.

Now if you know me personally, you know how terribly shy I am, and that I decline nearly all invitations to attend galas. But for charities that support the visually impaired and children, I always make an exception. If you’ve experienced Dine in the Dark, you must understand how frightening it is to not have sight. Everyday I wake up saying “Alhamdulillah (Thank God)” for my sight and overall good health. I know we focus on the negative, such as my nose is too big/small, my knees are too dark etc but leave the negativity – be grateful that you have the opportunity to see your big/small nose and your dark knees! You’re all perfect!

If you’re interested in buying tickets for the gala, click here.

My must watch films at DIFF
To buy tickets and view the full schedule of films being showcased, please click here. If you can’t attend, you can watch these films on iTunes or buy it on DVD in 5-6 months.

MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his election as President of South Africa, in the country’s first democratic vote. In this intimate and unflinching portrait of ‘Madiba’, the world discovers a man, who is known for his charismatic appeal, who is a boxing enthusiast, and who is ultimately immortalised in history as one of the greatest freedom fighters in the modern era. Epic in scale, the film features stunning performances by Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. (English dialogue)

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: For the first time in movie history, audiences will truly see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS is the ultimate immersive experience, utilising state-of-the-art 3D to transport audiences to the middle of a thrilling and epic pre-historic world, where an underdog dinosaur triumphs to become a hero for the ages. (English dialogue)

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY: Directed by and starring Ben Stiller, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY is the story of an ordinary office worker (Stiller) who escapes his anonymous life by daydreaming about a life of adventure, heroism and romance. However, when his job is threatened, he decides to take action in the real world, and he sets off on an extraordinary quest to set things right. (English dialogue)

MATSURI NO UMA (THE HORSES OF FUKISHIMA): No one could have imagined the fate awaiting the horses of Fukushima. They almost died in the tsunami and were exposed to radiation inside the 20 km zone of the nuclear meltdown. They were left for weeks without fodder and shut away in stables for months. However, they are kept alive only because of the role they play in the grand annual horse festival with a 1,000 year history. (Japanese dialogue with English subtitles)

SHESHER KOBITA (THE LAST POEM): Based on the eponymous novel by Rabindranath Tagore, THE LAST POEM follows Amit Ray, an Oxford-educated iconoclastic barrister, who falls in love with the simple Labanya. Their romance builds up in the misty hills of Shillong through a series of dialogues and poems that they write for each other. Despite their courtship, the lovers decide to marry other suitors – believing that the monotony of marriage will kill the purity of their love. However, Amit soon finds himself caught up in discontent and is unable to let go. (Bengali dialogue with English subtitles)

DER IMKER (THE BEEKEEPER): The touching story of a beekeeper who lost everything in the Turk-Kurd war – his wife, children, country and over 500 bee colonies, which were his livelihood. All he is left with is his love for bees and his unshakeable faith in the human spirit. After all his losses, he finds a new life for himself in Switzerland as a result of his passion for beekeeping. (German and Kurdish dialogue with Arabic and English subtitles)

ILO ILO : Set in Singapore, ILO ILO chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their new Filipina maid, Teresa, who has left her home in search of a better life. After a rocky start, Teresa and Jiale, the young and troublesome boy she cares for, soon form a bond and she quickly becomes a part of the family. But the year is 1997 and the Asian financial crisis is starting to be felt across the region…(English dialogue)

THE BIG HOUSE: A young Yemeni boy finds a key to the mansion down the street, owned by the richest man in the village. He lets himself and his imagination run wild in the big, empty house. His little adventure is woven together with scenes from the Yemeni revolution, creating a poignant allegory. (Arabic dialogue with English subtitles)

LA GRANDE BELLEZZA: In this stirring portrait of Rome today, THE GREAT BEAUTY follows Jep Gambardella, an aging journalist (played by superstar Toni Servillo), who enjoys the city’s social life to the fullest. He attends chic dinners and parties, where his sparkling wit and pleasant company are always welcome. Weary of his lifestyle, Gambardella sometimes dreams of taking up his pen again, haunted by memories of his passionate youth that he cannot let go of. Can he overcome his disenchantment with the world? (Italian dialogue with English subtitles)

INSTANT MOMMY: In this hilarious comedy, Eugene Domingo plays Bechayda, who is in a long distance relationship with Kaoru, a Japanese man. Pregnant and in love, the future looks bright for Bechayda, but tragedy strikes and in a bid to offer her family a better life, Bechayda devises an absurd plan. (Filipino, English and Japanese dialogue with English subtitles)


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