DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: THE BEGINNING
It’s my first day here in Dubai and my initial observations are the obvious ones: beautiful sights, impeccable service and construction (I mean a lot!). For those who don’t know a lot about this jewel of the United Arab Emirates, imagine Las Vegas before it became the tourist trap it is now, but instead of it built on mob money, this playground for adults is blossoming from the wealthy sheiks whose palaces are buried behind high gates along the coast.
The picture above (not taken by me, but my images will appear in future posts) highlights the coast with Dubai’s main beacon the Burj Al Arab in the foreground. Some of you may know this as the only 7 star hotel in the world (I’ve learned a big reason it gets this distinction is because all the rooms are duplexes and because of that it passes the 5 star rating).
The opening night gala took place just down the beach from the Burj after a screening of Michael Clayton. George Clooney was in attendance, and yes, the women are as crazy for him here as they are in the States.
I’m excited to see the Arab films that are here as I’m beginning to learn that this fest, (though running against Marrakech fest at the same time) is the only real avenue for local filmmakers to not only get noticed by an international crowd but if they win a competition prize receive some much deserved cash, as distribution avenues for most filmmakers here are still just a pipedream. The festival also is doing its part to help mold producers as well. Today, they are doing a “coaching for Producers” session on script development.
I’ll try to post as much as I can with highlights of the area and culture leaving a more detailed report on the festival when I return home in a week.
To be continued…