Features many films that have already won international accolades, such as Mohamed Al-Daradji’s Ahlaam (Dreams), set in a psychiatric ward in Baghdad, which won the prize for Best Film at the Bangladesh Film Festival, or Samir Nasr’s Folgeschaden (Seeds of Doubt), which explores the relationship between an Algerian man and his German wife after he is arrested under suspicion of terrorism. The film won Nasr a Naguib Mahfouz award at the Cairo Film Festival in 2005.
Operation Cultural Bridge
Features films that mend the rift in cross-cultural understanding between the Muslim world and the West, and is epitomized in one of the programme’s main films, All the Invisible Children. A collection of shorts by seven directors, including Spike Lee and John Woo, the film represents the lives of children around the world who have been forgotten by war, strife, poverty, and hunger. Another film in the program, a recent International Emmy winner, is Knowledge is the Beginning, a documentary on the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a musical mission of peace set up by the late Edward Said and his close friend Daniel Barenboim.
Presents and celebrates the work of a distinguished actor, director or producer from each of three cinema strongholds: Asia, the Arab World, and Hollywood. This year, the honourees are Shah Rukh Khan, Indian acting legend, Nabil Maleh, the fearless Syrian director of El Fahd, the Leopard, and Hollywood auteur Oliver Stone. DIFF will screen highlights from each honouree’s portfolio, among them Stone’s recent World Trade Center.
Comprises films from across Europe's major film production centers. Highlights include Paris, Je T’Aime, a collection of 21 shorts about the unique atmosphere of Paris, directed by the Coen Brothers and Gus Van Sant, among others. Café Europe also features the controversial Death of a President, a hypothetical musing on the assassination of George W. Bush.
Insights from Asia
Will feature cinema from the culturally rich capitals of the Far East including Japan, China, Philippines and South Korea. Guimul (the Host), directed by Bong Joon-Ho, was a cult favourite at Cannes and will wow DIFF-goers with its classic monster-movie premise: toxic sludge has created a human-eating monster. Phillippino director Jeffrey Jeturian will screen his Kubrador (The Debt Collector), which won the International Critics’ Prize at this year’s Moscow Film Festival. The film centres around a woman who supports her family in Manila’s slums by collecting proceeds from an illegal numbers game.
Cinema from the Subcontinent
Will show both independent and studio films from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, including the best of Bollywood. Iruvar (the Duo), the 1997 film that was Ashwariya Rai’s big-screen debut, will screen in this segment, as well as Outsourced, an American film about a call-centre manager who is sent to India to train his replacement. Mira Nair’s The Namesake depicts an inter-ethnic relationship and its effects on an Indian family living in the United States.
Will present the best documentaries of 2005-2006 centering on regions in turmoil, including two films---My Country, My Country and Blood of My Brother---that focus on Iraq. Martyr Street depicts five years on a street in Hebron where a Jewish and a Palestinian family live across the street from each other and in reality across a wide political divide, made broader by hatred and anger.
In Honor of Africa
Will focus on this extremely diverse continent. Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon is an offering from South Africa that explores the lives of the displaced in Johannesburg; Daratt (Dry Season), winner of this year’s Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, takes the viewer to post-Civil War Chad.
Contemporary World Cinema
Features a wide cross-section of work from filmmakers from all corners of the globe, from Hollywood to Romania, Russia, Iran and Argentina. High-profile films from the segment include For Your Consideration, a mockumentary by Christopher Guest, the director of the hilarious Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, and Fast Food Nation, from Before Sunrise director Richard Linklater. The film is part thriller, part expose on the horrors of industrial farming.
Cinema for Children
A new program in DIFF 2006 that will appeal to children of diverse nationalities. This segment boasts Happy Feet, the animated hit about tap-dancing penguins, and a Finnish film called Valo, about a group of children living in Finland when it was a part of the Russian empire in the early 1900’s.
For the third year in a row, DIFF celebrates Emirati filmmaking with the Emerging Emiratis programme, showing six short movies that project the different ideas, geographic and personal backgrounds of the most talented young UAE directors.