x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The King's Speech opens Dubai Film Festival

A film about how King George VI of Britain, father of the present queen, overcame a speech impediment will be screened for the first time in the Middle East.

A film about how King George VI of Britain overcame a speech impediment will be screened for the first time in the Middle East at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in December.

The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, not only received a standing ovation at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, it captured the people's choice award. DIFF announced yesterday the film would open the seventh annual festival, which runs from December 12 to 19, and confirmed that some members of the cast were expected to come to the UAE to support it. Abdulhamid Juma, the festival's chairman, said the film was part of DIFF's aim to bring the best cinema in the world to Dubai.

"We are confident it will be a sell-out here," he said. "We are excited to begin our programming on such a high note."

Days after the Abu Dhabi Film Festival wrapped at the weekend, DIFF also revealed the first of the entries from the Muhr Emirati Awards, the filmmaking competition for UAE nationals launched earlier this year.The Philosopher, a short film directed by Fujairah's Abdulla AlKaabi, was shot in Paris this year and stars Jean Reno, the French actor who starred in Leon: The Professional and Mission: Impossible. It cost €200,000 (Dh1 million) to produce.

Mr AlKaabi, 24, credited DIFF for linking him up with industry experts who made his film possible and said he was working extremely hard to make it ready for its debut.

The Muhr Awards are one of several DIFF initiatives to promote filmmakers from the region.

Last month DIFF joined forces with Spain's San Sebastian International Film Festival to promote Arab filmmakers in Europe by supporting post-production and creating networking opportunities. Meanwhile, a collaboration with the Screen Institute Beirut will grant US$15,000 (Dh55,000) annually to a documentary film under development in Dubai.

The measures enable the festival to "reinforce our role as a resource and stage for Arab films", said Shivani Pandya, DIFF's managing director.

The festival will be held in association with Dubai Studio City.

aseaman@thenational.ae