Dubai film fest: Where to meet Freida Pinto... or Colin Firth

As the curtains rise on the seven-day affair, we look at the best spots to catch the starry action in the emirate

As the curtains have risen on the ninth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival, the city is fast becoming a playground for the very famous to soak up some winter sun, while wrapping up official red carpet appearances in between.

This year, the film festival is playing host to Hollywood’s top brass Oscar winners such as Kevin Spacey, Cate Blanchett and Colin Firth; meanwhile, damsel turned diva, Freida Pinto, is also returning to the city that gave her a starry status when it screened ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ several years ago.

If you want to be very all the action is, here’s a nifty guide by Emirates 24|7 to catch all the stars in the flesh these next eight days.

Red Carpet Galas

Fans of Hollywood elite need go no further than the red carpet enclosure at the Madinat Arena every night from 6pm to catch their favourite stars.

International celebrities flying into Dubai this December include: Academy Award winners Cate Blanchett, Colin Firth, Livia Firth, Frieda Pinto, Rooney Mara, Kirsten Davis, Amr Waked, Bryan Ferry, Suraj Sharma, Steve Oram, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jessica Mauboy, Shravanthi Sainath and Adil Hussain and Erica Linz.

Phew!

All for a cause

DIFF has whipped up a surefire way to beat Monday blues, starting with the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Awards ceremony on December 10, offering up $100,000 in cash prize to one winning filmmaker.

Why this is a star studded affair is the presence of jury head and Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, who will certainly dress to impress fans and shutterbugs at the One and Only Resort and Spa, Dubai.

Later in the week, Academy Award winning actor Colin Firth and his fashion entrepreneur wife Livia will be supporting the annual ‘One Night to Change Lives’ charity event to benefit Oxfam and Dubai Cares on December 14th.

Last year’s event raised over $1 million, funding 14 regional schools and 10 schools in Pakistan.

Word has it that Frieda Pinto, Cuba Gooding Jr and Kristen Davis are to attend Oxfam at the Armani Hotel this year.

Dining with the stars

OK, so there’s no DIFF event that really brings you close enough with any celebrity to break bread and have a fun date. However, some of these stars will certainly let down their hair at some point in their stay and head out for the night on the town, and this is when you need to be ready with your cameras.

Our top choice is Nobu, the mouth-watering Japanese fine dining restaurant on Atlantis The Palm. Chances are, Spacey, who is a good friend of Hollywood great Robert DeNiro, could swing by for some sushi to support his mate’s restaurant.

Another Japanese eatery that will get our two thumbs up is Zuma, tucked away in DIFC and most certainly would cater to the Colin and Livia Firths of this world.

Meanwhile, Cavalli Restaurant and Lounge will certainly find a dressed up Frieda Pinto, who is not only snapped in many Cavalli creations, but is also the favourite actress of celebrity designer, Roberto Cavalli himself.

Sneak-a-peek at the souk

A few years ago, Emirates 24|7 snoops curled up with a cuppa at the souk Starbucks and ran into Salma Hayek – surrounded by a posse of bodyguards – along with Ben Affleck struggling to cough up some dirhams until a DIFF volunteer offered to pay for him instead.

Hang around there long enough a few lesser-known famous faces to likely to make an appearance.

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