By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire November 24, 2010 at 4:11AM
The upcoming seventh edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), that runs from December 12 - 19, promises to be the biggest one yet with a total of 41 films making their world premieres, out of the 157 film lineup - representing a 30 percent growth from last year. In addition, 70 of the films hail from the Arab world.
As previously announced, Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" will kick off the festival, with Colin Firth in attendance, while Joseph Kosinski's "Tron:Legacy" will serve as the closing gala film. Other red carpet screenings slated to take place over the course of the festival include Peter Weir's "The Way Back," Mohamed Diab's Cairo set "678," Hesham Issawis Egyptian love story "Cairo Exit," "Tomorrow Will Be Better" from Polish director Dorota Kędzierzawska, and the Chinese martial arts film "Reign of Assassins" from Chao-Bin Su and John Woo.
Expected guests confirmed to appear at the festival include Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Peter Weir, Jean Reno, Carey Mulligan, Africa’s Souleymane Cisse, Arab stars Khaled Abol Naga, Bushra, Nelly Karim, Saba Mubarak, Ayman Zeidan, Samar Sami and Raghda, as well as Sean Penn who will be on hand to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Of the Arab films screening at the festival, most of them are primarily distributed among the in-competition Muhr Arab and Muhr Emirati Awards segments, and the out-of-competition Arabian Nights and Gulf Voices segments.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director commented on this year's lineup in a statement, "I believe that our programming this year not only offers something for everyone, it also offers new, very interesting, unusual and surprising films. If I could choose one word to describe our 2010 programme, it would be 'discovery.' We have discoveries of new talents, new styles and new collaborations. I am proud of the fine crop of Arab cinema we have this year and the exceedingly talented UAE filmmakers included in our line-up, and I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who wants to better understand this country and our region experience it."
For more information on this year's lineup, visit DIFF's website.