Morocco: Dubai International Film Festival Opens With Morocco's Participation

A Tribute To The Souls Of The Indian Entertainment Industry Lost This Year

Film Festival kicked off Wednesday with the Middle East premiere of US director Scott Cooper's violent Western "Hostiles" playing up its underlying theme of reconciliation and Cate Blanchett and Patrick Stewart providing some Western star power on the glitzy red carpet dominated by top Arab and Bollywood talent.

The festival opened with the MENA premiere of acclaimed actor, writer and director Scott Cooper's Western epic "Hostiles", starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi.

There were plenty of familiar faces on the red carpet - the opening film itself was represented on the night by native American actress Q'orianka Kilcher, along with members of the movie's production team, while local talent included The Worthy director Ali F Mostafa and Amal Al Agroobi, who is now raising funds for her next feature Doris Domestic.

Taking place from December 6 - 13, the festival will showcase more than 140 short and feature-length films in more than 38 languages from 51 countries in the Arab world and beyond.

The 14 edition was also attended by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

X-Men actor Sir Patrick Stewart also picked up an award for his outstanding contribution to cinema at the 14th annual DIFF, and was joined on the night by wife Sunny Ozell.

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Donning a fuchsia, pink and black lattice-detailed gown by Giorgio Armani, Blanchett picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Madinat Jumeirah ceremony. The first recipient was England's legendary talent of stage and screen Sir Patrick Stewart, for his decades-long career and iconic cinema.

"Not only Hollywood, but Europe and the outside world is in turmoil at the moment, and I believe that cinema has a role to play in bringing it to an end", the English star said on stage, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Thursday in Dubai will see Blanchett head up the IWC Shaffhausen prize jury that will see one Arab film project win a cash grant of $100,000 by the Swiss watchmaker. Commenting on his association with cinema, he said, "Cinema has given me the strength to live in times of insecurity".

Internationally acclaimed Australian actress and two-time Oscar victor Cate Blanchett added a touch of glamour to the festival. "We are excited to welcome over 59 regional films to the Festival this year, each making sure that voices from this part of the world are heard". Egyptian Wahid Hamid, who has been producing script for Arab TV and cinema for more than 40 years, was also rewarded.

Cinelovers can watch latest works of world's acclaimed filmmakers at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena, Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, VOX Cinemas at Mall of the Emirates and at The Beach - opposite JBR, Dubai.

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