Oscar-nominated producer, writer and director Lee Daniels will head the jury for the 11th Dubai International Film Festival’s (DIFF) prestigious
Muhr Feature Competition, festival organizers announced today. This year’s edition of the festival will run from December 10 to 17, 2014.
Daniels’s most recent production was the box-office hit “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (2013), which starred Forrest Whittaker, Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey. Prior to “The
Butler” he produced and directed the critically acclaimed Oscar winning drama “Precious“, which won numerous awards including two Oscars for Best
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Monique, and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher and made Daniels the first African-American to have directed a film
nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
The multi-talented Daniels has not followed a traditional role in film; he started in the industry as a casting director, and subsequently managed talent
for a number of years before producing and, finally, directing and writing films which have received international acclaim.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “Lee Daniels is one of the most distinguished American filmmakers today, who has built his illustrious career on embracing the dynamics and diversities of life’s challenging situations,
he is uniquely poised to understand filmmakers from the Arab world, their aspirations, and their unique viewpoints.”
“It is exciting to welcome an artist as unconventional, yet commercially minded; a compassionate and honest artist who has created a niche for himself
within Hollywood. We look forward to understanding the motivation behind Mr. Daniels work further when we welcome him to the UAE.”
Daniels will head a jury of four members, who will weigh each of the formidable entries in the hopes of garlanding a winner. The Muhr competition has
become the region’s foremost platform for launching new works by Arab filmmakers, regularly welcoming cinematic giants such as Egypt’s Mohamed Khan,
Palestinian Oscar nominee Hany Abu Assad, and Saudi Arabia’s Haifaa Al Mansour.
Speaking ahead of his visit to DIFF Lee Daniels commented, “I’m thrilled to be visiting the Emirates for the first time and to have the privilege of being
part of the Dubai International Film Festival’s jury. This festival is truly a host to international cinema, it’s an exciting time for me to join the
festival and experience everything that it has to offer.”
The Muhr competition celebrates feature, documentary and short films, and non-feature films by filmmakers from the region. DIFF audiences can view all
shortlisted competition films as part of the regular festival programming from December 10 to 17, 2014.
Further information, as well as screening times and venues, can be found on the festival’s website on www.dubaifilmfest.com.