The inaugural Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF), which is presented by Dubai Duty Free will open with a special screening of its guest of honour Omar Sharif’s critically-acclaimed role in the Golden Globe nominated Monsieur Ibrahim (2003) on Thursday, 8th of May at the Light House Cinema.
The acting legend, whose films include the classics Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl, will introduce the film directed by Francois Dupeyron. The film tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a teenage boy and an elderly grocery store owner, played by Sharif himself.
The festival, which will show nine movies over two venues, will also welcome Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad as a special guest for the screening of his Oscar-nominated film Omar on its closing night on May 11.
A political thriller and love story set in the Palestinian territories, the film earned Abu-Assad his second Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards this year. The film won a jury prize at Cannes and was selected to show at the Toronto and New York film festivals.
Filmmaker Jim Sheridan, president of DAFF, commented that the launch of the festival coincides with “the first really good year for Arab cinema worldwide,” with three Arab films nominated in separate categories at this year’s Academy Awards.
“I think we’re coming in at the right time. It’s not a political thing, they’re just the best films out there,” Sheridan added.
The festival will also include viewings of other Arabic films of note at the Light House Cinema over the weekend as well as viewings of Laurence of Arabia and The Yacoubian Building at the Chester Beatty Library.
Other guests of honour attending the festival are Egyptian director, Ahmad Abdallah and Moroccan film and television director Nabil Ayouch who has represented his home country at the Oscars with his movies Mektoub and Ali Zaoua. Also in attendance will be Dr. Jim Swire who tragically lost his daughter in the Lockerbie bombing and has spent more than 25 years fighting to unearth the truth behind the disaster.