Dubai International Film Festival kicks off with dash of glitz and glamour

Joann Johnston
December 7, 2017

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 four recipients at this year's festival are Egyptian writer Wahid Hamed, for his prolific and impactful influence on cinema; talent of stage and screen Sir Patrick Stewart, for a decades-long career of iconic cinema, celebrated Indian actor Irrfan Khan, whose unique character work has made waves across Indian and global screens and internationally acclaimed Australian actress and two-time Oscar victor Cate Blanchett. During the event, Middle East premiere of United States director Scott Cooper's violent Western Hostiles also took place which played up the underlying theme of reconciliation.

Blanchett pointed out that it was her third time at DIFF, saying it was "always a pleasure to be a small part of festival that that supports diverse voices internationally and regionally", adding that as she was the evening's opening awards recipient it was "ladies first tonight. which is a good motto for the film industry".

The Australian actress and theatre director was presented her gong by DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma and HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed al Maktoum.

England's legendary talent of stage and screen Sir Patrick Stewart was awarded for his decades-long career and iconic cinema. DIFF perennial Olga Kurylenko was back on the carpet, this year supporting Armando Iannucci's political satire The Death of Stalin, which screens on Friday night and in which she plays pianist Maria Yudina. The fourth award was presented to two-time Oscar victor Cate Blanchett is an internationally acclaimed Australian actress and theatre director with a long and illustrious career and has featured in an array of successful and critically acclaimed films.

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"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.

Indian versatile actor Irrfan Khan was also awarded at the festival for his unique character work that has made waves across Indian and global screens. Egyptian Wahid Hamid, who has been producing script for Arab TV and cinema for more than 40 years, was also rewarded.

Over the next seven days, the festival will celebrate the magic of cinema with an incredible mix of films and forums taking place across the city, from glamorous galas and intriguing industry events featuring innovative filmmaking and shining a spotlight on budding local talent.

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