Dubai International Film Festival: Hollywood comes to town

December 7, 2014

Expect camera flashes, red carpets and people who look like they could be famous in Dubai this week, as Hollywood rolls into town. The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) kicks off on Wednesday, December 4, and with an exciting line-up of world-class cinema in store for its 11th year, it promises to be the biggest and best yet.


A total of 118 films, including 55 world premiers, will be presented during the eight days of the festival, with the coveted Wednesday evening opening slot at the Madinat Arena going to the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything (trailer above). Directed by James Marsh and starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, the film tells the story of how one of the greatest minds of our time overcame his terrible illness to push the boundaries of science against all odds and also find true love in the process. The honour of the festival's final film will go to Rob Marshall's fairytale musical Into the Woods, which boasts an all-star cast including Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt. The festival will also host the hotly anticipated directorial debut of Andrea Di Stefano, Escobar: Paradise Lost, starring Benicio del Toro as Pablo Escobar, who just so happens to be EDGAR's cover star this month. Another big film on show is Morten Tyldum's Oscar-tipped The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumerbatch and Keira Knightley.


Emily Blunt is the big A-list name in attendance at DIFF this year. As a member of the jury, she will help decide who will win the IWC Filmmaker Award and a generous $100,000 cash prize. Fellow Hollywood and Bollywood names also in Dubai include Kelsey Grammer, Paul Bettany, Yilmaz Erdogan, Olga Kurylenko, John Abraham, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawal. Singer Aloe Blacc will be in town too, performing a private concert at the IWC after party on Thursday. Emily Blunt and Christophe Waltz

Where to be seen

If rubbing shoulders and sipping champagne with the Hollywood names is more your thing, the place to be is the VIP Lounge. Located in the Al Qasr hotel, the exclusive lounge will be the go to place for the actors and actresses in attendance, and will host several high-end brands including the Rivoli Group, Haig Club, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dubai's most underrated restaurant, Qbara. As well as the impressive Madinat Jumeirah Arena, the films will also be shown at the Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah and Vox Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates. There will also be free showings of selected films on the large open-air screen at The Beach, JBR. Details: For more information and to buy tickets, visit