Monday, March 21, 2011

Fourth Gulf Film Festival to honour French filmmaker Gérard Courant

GFF to screen films from Courant’s repertoire of more than 300 films across Dubai Festival City
·     Delegates can also participate in world’s longest film, 156-hour ‘Cinématon,’ featuring short, silent, self-portraits of over 2,347 artists, directors, and cinephiles

Eminent experimental filmmaker Gérard Courant, who holds the world record for the longest film ever made, the 156-hour Cinématon, will be in the spotlight at the fourth Gulf Film Festival, the home of bold, experimental and contemporary cinema from the Arabian peninsula. The Festival will be held from April 14 to 20, 2011, at Dubai Festival City.
Gérard Courant
One of the most prolific filmmakers of recent times, with more than 300 films under his belt, Courant is also a master of conceptual and lyrical cinema. His work includes contemplative feature films, films made of still images and negative images, films that revisit a single event over 24 years, in addition to his most well-known work, Cinématon, made over 33 years and featuring short, silent self-portraits of more than 2,347 artists, directors and cinephiles including Jean-Luc Godard, Sergie Bardaghnouf and Youssef Chahine shot in single takes.
The fourth edition of the Gulf Film Festival will showcase films from Courant’s repertoire in its ‘In Focus’ segment on screens across the Dubai Festival Centre mall. The films not only provide a glimpse of Courant’s stylistic ingenuity, but also the breadth of the subjects he has explored. As with all GFF films, these will be free and open to the public. Festival delegates will also have the opportunity to participate in Cinématon.
Jean-Luc Godard
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Festival Director, Gulf Film Festival, said the showcase of Courant’s films is intended to inspire emerging filmmakers to experiment with various media, styles and interpretations and find their own way.
“Courant and his body of work embody what the Gulf Film Festival is trying to achieve,” he said. “His films are avant-garde; they defy conventional methods of filmmaking to create works that are in a league of their own. He is relentlessly devoted to his craft, investing time and energy into breaking new ground. He is a fine example for filmmakers trying to find their own voice, and we are delighted to welcome him to Dubai.”
Salah Sermini, Consultant, Gulf Film Festival, said: “Gerard Courant is undoubtedly considered one of the most innovative filmmakers of our time, and it is an honour for cinema lovers in the Middle East to witness his pioneering work through the Gulf Film Festival. We look forward to showcasing this brilliant filmmaker and his works to the residents and visitors of the United Arab Emirates, through a series of screenings and other activities.”
Youssef Chahine
In addition to Cinematon, some of Courant’s best-known works include Aditya, 24 Passions, She’s a Very Nice Lady, Shiva, Marilyn, Guy Lux, and Nuns, and Rasage.
In previous years, the Gulf Film Festival’s ‘In Focus’ segment celebrated innovative French filmmaker Francois Vogel;  in addition to screenings, Vogel participated in interactive public sessions.
The fourth edition of the Gulf Film Festival will be held from April 14 to 20, 2011, at the InterContinental Hotel and Grand Cinemas at Dubai Festival City. The 2011 Festival includes a Gulf competition for student, feature and documentary films, an international shorts competitions, out-of-competition segments, a master class by renowned director Abbas Kiarostami and other special events. All films are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gulf Film Festival to host master class on filmmaking with Abbas Kiarostami

1st master class by world-renowned director in the Gulf region
Registration open until March 21 for filmmakers from GCC, Iraq and Yemen

Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami
The Gulf Film Festival, the home of contemporary cinema from the Arabian peninsula, will host the first-ever master-class of acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami in the Gulf region on April. The fourth edition of the Festival, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), will run from April 14 to 20, 2011.
The 10-day Kiarostami master class, scheduled for April 11 to 20 in Dubai, is open to filmmakers in the Gulf countries, Iraq and Yemen and will be held in association with Documentary Voices, a documentary festival focused on social issues. Kiarostami, one of the most respected names in international cinema, will provide hands-on practical training for up to 40 participants, guiding them through every stage of filmmaking.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Festival Director, said: “We are honoured to host world-famous filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami in Dubai for this master class held in association with Documentary Voices. Having defined his niche in cinema with compelling masterpieces, Kiarostami has a strong command of the medium, which inspires aspiring filmmakers around the world. Our partnership in hosting the maestro highlights our commitment to further strengthen the talent of Gulf filmmakers, and drive the regional film industry.”
Kiarostami, whose career and body of work have drawn more than 70 awards and honours across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa, said he is looking forward to getting to know and work with talent from the Arab world in Dubai.
The renowned director will help participants develop a topic and their stories, guide their shoots on location, review their rough cuts and advise them on post-production aspects. The films, each between one to five minutes long, will undergo a final review by Kiarostami, who will comment on each work. The legendary auteur will also screen clips from his films and discuss them with participants, providing unique insights into his style and world.
“Quality filmmaking is possible under all types of limitations, including location, equipment, political and economical; and this workshop is designed to help filmmakers work within the available means,” Kiarostami says.
“This will not be a classical academic filmmaking workshop, but a very interactive one to encourage filmmakers to overcome their fears, frustrations and financial issues and start producing. Enough of lectures, sitting in the classroom or writing, let’s make our films now.” 
Kiarostami, voted the most important film director of the 1990s by two independent film critic polls, has conducted filmmaking master-classes at top-tier film festivals and accomplished film schools. Films by his students have captivated audiences through their screenings at global film festivals and on television, highlighting the collaboration and knowledge-sharing that marks his master classes.
A flagbearer of the Iranian new wave in cinema, Kiarostami has made over 40 films including shorts and documentaries. His acclaimed films include Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us and the Koker Trilogy. Most recently, his film Certified Copy won critical acclaim at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival with its lead actress, Juliette Binoche winning the Best Actress laurel at the festival. His works have also won the recognition of fellow world masters like Jean Luc Goddard, Nanni Moretti, Chris Marker, Ray Carney, Akira Kurosawa and Martin Scorsese, among others.
Registration for the Kiarostami master class in Dubai is available through the websites of the Gulf Film Festival ( and Documentary Voices ( Registration will be open until March 21, 2011.
The fourth Gulf Film Festival, which will include a competition for professionals and students from the GCC, Iraq and Yemen and an international shorts competition, is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and is held in association with Dubai Studio City.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mithun Da not amused at Jay’s mimicry!

Dada frowns as Jay sits on the Grandmaster’s chair and imitates his style
Killing time between shots on the sets of DID Doubles, host Jay Bhanushali decided to get a li’l cheeky and amuse himself as also the three mentors Geeta Kapur, Master Marzi Pestonji and Rajeev Surti by running up to Grandmaster Mithun Da’s chair while he had stepped out for a break and doing an elaborate mimicry of Dada’s signature lines and typical mannerisms!

Jay sat in Dada’s unmistakable ‘bent to one side’ pose, stood up with a start like he often does and vigorously started darting out Mithun Da’s famous Grand salutes and ‘Kya Baat! Kya Baat! Kya Baat!’. Seeing that he had the audience and the mentors in splits with his almost perfect mimicry of Dada, Jay went one step further and started copying Dada’s style of flirting with Shveta and Geeta Ma. Little did he know that when he was halfway into Mithun Da’s mimicry, the man himself had walked back into the studio and was standing right behind the Grandmaster’s chair!
Since Jay didn’t seem to have intentions of ending his tomfoolery, Dada decided to tap him on the shoulder in the middle of his act, sending Jay jumping and running for cover! Sitting on the chair that is rightfully only his, Mithun da said, ‘Jay, never again on my chair! See what I make you do if you come anywhere close to this chair. And watch your back now that you’ve imitated me in front everybody!’ Do we see a trembling Jay Bhanushali hiding below the Grandmaster’s chair?
Stay tuned to DID Doubles every Friday and Saturday at 20.00 on Zee TV.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eighth Edition of DIFF to focus on Germany

Goethe-Institut, German Films, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and others to join with DIFF to present best of contemporary German film and talent, boost collaboration between Arab world and German studios, distributors, development bodies
·     Eighth edition of DIFF to be held from December 7 to 14

For its eighth edition, the Dubai International Film Festival will host a special focus on Germany, reinforcing the cultural and business connections between the Arab world and the European nation, the DIFF team announced at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival recently. DIFF 2011 will be held from December 7 to 14 this year.
In addition to showcasing contemporary German cinema and talent, the In Focus: Germany presentation will also introduce German producers, distributors, sales agents, studios, scouts, festivals and development agencies to their counterparts in Dubai and the wider Arab world.
DIFF is developing this year’s In Focus segment with the Goethe-Institut, the nation’s cultural ambassador around the world; German Films, in charge of marketing and promotion of German films and its film industry; and the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, one of Europe’s premier film commissions involved in film funding and location development and marketing.
Mariette Rissenbeer, German Films; 
Shivani Pandya, DIFF; 
Susanne Sporrer, Goethe-Institut; 
Jane Williams, DIFF Industry Office. 
Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of the Dubai International Film Festival, said: “The Arab world, and the UAE in particular, shares a thriving relationship with Germany across domains from education to exports. We are proud to play our part in expanding these relationships by expanding ties with our peers in the German film industry and facilitating their engagement with the Arab world and its film community through Dubai and the Dubai International Film Festival.”
With DIFF growing in both its industry dimension through the Dubai Film Market and its public-facing dimension via its success in screenings, workshops and other events, filmgoers and the region’s talent and businesses will benefit from the relationship.
DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya said: “German organizations, producers and investors from The World Cinema Fund to ZDF/Arte have long supported filmmakers from around the Arab world through co-productions, funding, broadcast and knowledge sharing, and this year’s DIFF focus is both a recognition of their valuable support and an effort to boost these collaborations.”
Susanne Sporrer, Director of the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, said: “DIFF gives us a wonderful opportunity to present for the very first time the variety and quality of German cinema in a concentrated way in the United Arab Emirates. It is our aim to make the international audience in the Emirates more familiar with German film in general. At the same time we want to encourage German filmmakers to get a deeper insight into a culture which is still not very well known in Europe. Since the film sector in the Emirates has been developing amazingly in the last years it is definitely an intriguing time to experience the new creative energy in this part of the world and to boost mutual understanding.”
Germany, the third largest economy in the world and the largest in Europe, is also a country of cinema legend, with a history dating back to the 1890s and a tradition of major technical and artistic contributions to world cinema including the 61-year-old Berlinale, one of the world’s leading film festivals. Films from around the Arab world have been a consistent feature at the Berlinale, and this year’s roster includes UAE national Khalid Mahmood’s award-winning short Sabeel.
In previous years, the Dubai International Film Festival’s annual tribute to cinematic excellence has focused on Italy, France and Mexico, receiving actors, directors, producers, films and industry delegates from each nation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ujala Asianet 2011 film Awards announced

Asianet announced the winners of Ujala Asianet 2011 film awards in 28 categories. Ujala Asianet is one of the popular and prestigious award given to the artistes in Malayalam cinema. The winners will receive cash price and a memento designed by artist Namboothiri.
Ujala Asianet Award nite is planned as a memorable event with colourfull performance and participation of leading heros and heroines from the Indian film industry. Celebrities from Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil film industries will not only participate but also perform in the stage in variety of programmes like dance, music and comedy skits.

The Award winner’s are:-
Superstar Mohanlal won the Golden Star Award and Vijay is the popular Tamil actor.
Mammootty’s performance in Pranchiyettan and The Saint and Kuttisrank won him the best actor award. Nayanthara is selected as the best actress for her role as the love interest of Dileep in Body Guard. Director and producer Ranjith’s Pranchiyettan & The Saint is the best film and Lal fetched the best director award for the film In Ghost House Inn.
Dileep is the winner of popular Actor award for his performance in Body Guard, Karyasthan and Pappi Appacha. Mamta Mohandas received the popular actress award for her memorable roles in Katha Thudarunnu and Anwar.
Sreenivasan won the special Jury Award for the film Aatmakadha. Jayasurya walked away with the youth icon of the year award. Major Ravi’s Kandahar bagged the special award for National integration. Kunjacko Boban and Archana Kavi are the winner’s of the best star pair award for the film Mummy & Me.
Ann Augustine, who won the hearts of audience for her role in Elsamma Enna Aankutty is the best newface award winner. Best female child artiste is Baby Anikha (Katha Thudarunnu) and the male child artiste winner is Master Alexander (TD Dasan, Std VIB).
Arun Kumar won the Editing award for Cocktail and Venu won the best camera award for the films In Ghost House Inn and Pranchiyettan and The saint.
Sreya Ghoshal fetched the best female playback singer award for her song Manjumazhakkalam in the film Aagathan. Hariharan’s Aro Padunnu Doore song for the film Katha Thudarunnu made him the best male playback singer.
Leading singer MG Sreekumar is the best music director and the best lyricist award winner is Murukan Kattakkada, both for the film Oru Naal Varum.
Sathyan Anthikkad is the best script writer for the film Katha Thudarunnu. Suraj Venjaramood is selected as the best comedian for various films. Asif Ali is the best villain for his role in Apoorva Raagangal.
Nedumudi Venu’s performance in Elsamma Enna Annkutty and Lakshmi Priya’s role in Katha Thudarunnu bagged them the best supporting actor and actress award respectively.
Samvrutha Sunil and Innocent won the best character actress and character actor award respectively for the films Cocktail and Katha Thudarunnu.