Martin Sheen, Blanchett, Priyanka Chopra @ DIFF

The festival kicks off tonight with the opening gala, ‘Omar’

As the tenth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival kicks off today amidst a razzle dazzle of showbiz, the highly anticipated event’s milestone year brings in some of the top names from Hollywood, Bollywood and Arab cinema.

Martin Sheen, Cate Blanchett and ‘The Hulk’, Mark Ruffalo lead the Hollywood brigade, with Jim Sheridan, Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, Barry Cook, Rooney Mara, Michael B Jordan, Stephen Lang and the all grown up Abigail Breslin.

Also attending are former James Bong girls, Berenice Mahloe and Maryam D’Abo.

The British contingent will bring in actor, director Andy Serkis.

Bollywood is also going all out this year, with Priyanka  Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor coming to promote their film ‘Gunday’.

Meanwhile, ‘The Lunchbox’ team, namely Irfann Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddique, will also be promoting their critically acclaimed film.

Oscar-nominee Shekhar Kapur, Rahul Bose, Arjun and wife Mehr Jesia Rampal and Malayalam actor Jayaram.

Also on the list are A-list Arab celebrities that are set to grace the red-carpet includeing Hassan Youssef, Yosra, Ezzat El-Alaily, Nelly, Nadia El-Gendy, Samira Ahmed, Youssef Shaaban, Abdelrahman Abouzahra and many more.

Opening night

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, will showcase a total of 174 feature films, shorts and documentaries from around the world screening alongside an exciting line-up of special events.

“Omar”, by Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe winning Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad will raise the curtain on the decennial edition tonight.

The acclaimed feature supported by DIFF’s post-production and production funding support programme Enjaaz marks the return to the Festival for Assad whose ‘Paradise Now’ opened the second edition of DIFF.

DIFF will present its Lifetime Achievement Awards to multi Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Martin Sheen one of the greatest actors of his generation with a career that has seen him appear in more than 65 films.

Sheen will take to the stage for an ‘In conversation’ event in the Souk Madinat Jumeirah Theatre on December 8th.

Meanwhile, Academy Award winner and IWC Friend of the Brand Blanchett returns to Dubai to head the IWC Filmmaker Award jury for the second year running.

The award which offers a US$ 100,000 cash prize to one winning filmmaker will be presented at an event hosted by ‘Supporting Sponsor’ and Official ‘Festival-Time’ Partner  IWC Schaffhausen on Saturday, December 7th.

On December 11th, DIFF will partner for the third year running with Dubai Cares and Oxfam to host a glittering annual ‘One Night to Change Lives’ charity event under the patronage of UN Messenger of Peace HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of Sheikh Mohammed.

The festival runs until December 14.

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