The Dubai International Film Festival celebrates its first decade this month, with its tenth edition starting this Friday, December 6 and running through Saturday, December 14. The eldest of several high-profile Gulf State fests that began last decade, the Emirati event showcases work from the region, while also shining a spotlight on Asian and African work, and annually awards more than half a million dollars in prize money to competition winners. This year’s lineup consists of 174 films representing 57 countries. Among their number are 25 documentary features, a mix of new titles noted below and a number of familiar festival favorites that are just making their regional bows at the event.
Six films compete in the Muhr Arab Documentary Competition, including: Mohamed Amine Boukhris’ WAR REPORTER (pictured), following journalists of the Arab Spring; Ahmed Nour’s WAVES, a personal exploration of the young generation of Egyptians that enabled the revolution to take place; Sarah Francis’ BIRDS OF SEPTEMBER, in which a roving van serves as a confessional for the people of Beirut; and Philippe Aractingi’s HERITAGES, a meditation on the Lebanese director’s ancestral roots.
An additional eight titles are part of the Muhr Asia Africa Documentary Competition, including: Hafiz Rancajale’s BEHIND THE FLICKERING LIGHT (THE ARCHIVE), on Indonesia’s first film archivist; Surabhi Sharma’s BIDESIA IN BAMBAI, a celebration of the underrepresented migrant workforce in Mumbai; and Kazuhiro Sôda’s CAMPAIGN 2 (pictured), about a Fukushima-inspired anti-nuclear political campaign in Japan.
The fest’s non-competitive Arabian Nights section also features several new documentaries, among them Darin Al Baw’s OUR HOME WE CAN NOT WALK TO, about sisters caught in a war in a Lebanese Palestinian refugee camp; Mahmoud Kaabour’s CHAMP OF THE CAMP (pictured), on a Bollywood competition among migrant laborers in Dubai; and Nasredine Ben Maati’s A DOOMED GENERATION, a look at cyber-resistance to Tunisian repression prior to the revolution.