x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Feast of Indie films awaits as festival kicks off

A line-up of independent films from 10 countries will screen at the Gulf Film Festival.

DUBAI // A line-up of shorts and independent films from 10 countries will be featured at the fourth Gulf Film Festival, which begins tonight.

The event will showcase 153 films from 31 countries - including 45 Emirati titles - until April 20 at the Grand Cinema in Dubai Festival City.

The Intersections segment will include three UAE films, including Obscure, by Amira Arsalan, a film about a man who has lost his family and his fortune; and 3 Act Circus, an animated film by Noush Like Sploosh and Fathima Mohiuddin about the journey of an investigator, a clown and a vamp.

An Emirati, English and Indian documentary, Love Arranged, by the Dubai-based filmmaker Soniya Kirpalani, will make its world premiere at the festival. The film takes a look at Indian youths who search for love the old-fashioned way.

Four Spanish films will make their Middle East debut in the Intersections segment.

Cuando Corres, by Mikel Rueda, is a short film that was screened at Cannes and at the Semana del Cortometraje de Madrid last year. Fabrica De Munecas, by Ainhoa Menéndez Goyoaga, is about the life of a woman called Anna and her involvement in a doll factory. Manuel Calvo's Cannon Beach and La Historia De Siempre, by José Luis Montesinos Bernabé, will also screen in the segment.

Khadija al Salami is the only filmmaker from Yemen taking part in the festival. Her documentary Destructive Beast looks at the impact of corruption on the Yemeni population, focusing on its youth.

The documentary will also make its world premiere at the festival and will compete in the Gulf Competition - Documentary category. It is part of a trend among young Arab filmmakers to tell the story of their society through the camera lens.

Six animated French films will mark their GCC premiere at the festival, including Branque Brol Tambours, a documentary interview with a secluded man in the Pyrenees who shares his views of the world, by Aurelien Breton, Lionel Brouyere, Caroline Gasnier M and Benoit Leleu.

Other films in the Intersections segment include The Cocoon, from Lebanon, the account of a woman's pursuit for happiness, and The Cassava Metaphor, from Cameroon, by Lionel Meta, which tells the story of a taxi driver who picks up a nightmare passenger.

The festival will also present student, international shorts and Gulf-wide competitions. Segments out-of-competition and on children's cinema will also take place, along with workshops and a masterclass by director Gerard Courant.

This year's festival line-up includes 59 world premieres, 15 GCC premieres and 10 UAE premieres. All are free of charge and open to the public.

The festival opens tonight with the world premiere of Child of Iraq, a documentary by the Iraqi Ala'a Mohsen that depicts his return home after 14 years abroad.