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.