Dublin hosts its first ever Arabic Film Festival
Acting legend Omar Sharif and Oscar-nominated director Hany Abu-Assad to attend festival this year
Ireland is getting ready to host the inaugural Dublin Arabic Film Festival next month (May 8 – 11), which takes place at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin. Proudly sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, The Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) will showcase an extraordinary selection of the Arab world’s finest films and will be attended by an impressive array of international movie stars.
President of DAFF and six time Academy Award nominee, Jim Sheridan, commented that the festival coincides with “the first really good year for Arab cinema worldwide,” with three Arab films receiving nominations in three separate categories at this year’s Academy Awards.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to highlight to the rest of the world the art that is coming out of the Middle East,” said Jim Sheridan, President of DAFF. “There is a lot of shared culture and heritage between Ireland and the Arab region and I think the festival is coming in at just the right time,” he added.
DAFF will celebrate guest of honour Omar Sharif’s critically-acclaimed role in Monsieur Ibrahim (2003) with a special screening of the Golden Globe-nominated film on its opening night, May 8, 2014. The acting legend, whose films include Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl, will introduce the film, directed by Francois Dupeyron, which tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a teenage boy and an elderly grocery store owner, played by Sharif himself.
The festival will also welcome Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad as a special guest for the screening of the Oscar-nominated film Omar on its closing night on May 11.
A political thriller and love story set in the Palestinian territories, the film earned Abu-Assad his second Oscar nomination [Paradise Now was nominated in 2006]. Omar was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards this year after winning a jury prize at Cannes and being selected to show at the Toronto and New York film festivals.
Other guests of honour attending the festival are Egyptian director, Ahmad Abdallah and Moroccan film and television director Nabil Ayouch who was represented his home country at the Oscars with his movies Mektoub and Ali Zaoua.
Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s General Manager – Asia Hub said: “It is an exciting time for film in Ireland, with even more events, festivals and filmmaking productions taking place throughout the island of Ireland. We are proud to support the DAFF and for Dublin to experience the best of cinema from the Arab world. DAFF will be an excellent platform for the exchange of ideas and traditions through film between Ireland and the Middle East, and it will be fascinating to see how the stories are received.
“We have seen relations between Ireland and the Arab region continue to strengthen and there are more visitors going to Ireland from the GCC than ever before. The festival helps bring people together in a creative, fun and educational way and we are looking forward to welcoming some of the Middle East’s most talented and world renowned film directors in Dublin in May.”
Ireland and Northern Ireland’s film heritage has particularly grown throughout the last 20 years, with many award-winning movies being filmed there, including Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan and Harry Potter.
The DAFF is Ireland’s first, and only, film festival dedicated to cinema from the Arab world.