We go to the mall for our spending fix; we go to the mall with friends to chill out; heck, we even go to the mall when we have nothing to do! But here I am at the always wonderful, ambient Mercato Mall in Jumeirah Dubai, one of the main venues for screening the DIFF's eclectic selection of films. Upon arrival I am greeted by the fest's staff with wide-eyed enthusiasm as they hand me my screening passes - hey, what a brilliant way to start, eh?! The mood of film fans gathered in the foyer of the theatre is energetic, even charged. People wear emotions on their sleeves; they look ready to be part of a cultural phenomenon... dressed up bodies, made-up minds.
Day 1 begins and it was not without interesting incident. I spotted Morgan Freeman at the Madinat Jumeirah inside a heavy circle of friends and acquaintances; you know, he actually looks much taller than he does in his movies. I also had the pleasure of hearing Jehane Noujaim, producer and director of "Control Room," speak at a special Q&A panel discussion after the screening of her excellent, politically-charged documentary (read my review of it here). In addition Enayatullah, the spoken-spoken Afghan actor in Michael Winterbottom's touching "In this World" was on hand to answer the audience queries in another Q&A (Faizan Rashid reviews the film here). The post-screening Q&A sessions of films screened is an unexpected but pleasant development; I commend the organisers of DIFF. More of the same please.
Closing words - good first impression. And to say that I'll be a busy beaver over the next four days may not be an understatement after all. Speak to you soon!