Dubai Duty Free, one of the biggest travel retail operators in the world with a sales turnover of $1.85bn in 2016, has put its weight behind the Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) and will be the presenting sponsor of the festival for the fourth year consecutively.
The film festival, which was run as a part of the Irish Film Institute (IFI) from 6-8 October, is the brain child of multi Oscar nominated film maker, Jim Sheridan and festival director Zahara Moufid, and has been curated in conjunction with the Irish Film Institute.
Screen tourism to Ireland is a growing trend according to the island of Ireland’s marketing body, Tourism Ireland. Between 65,000 to 75,000 travellers from the GCC visited Ireland in 2016, up 8% compared to the year before. Of those GCC travellers, the UAE is the biggest market, with 65% of GCC visitors coming from the Emirates. Popular series such as Game of Thrones and the latest series of Star Wars films have been shot at various locations in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, providing a welcome boost to tourism economy.
Seven films from the Arab world were shown during the three-day festival, five of which were shown at the IFI in Temple Bar and the other two in the Chester Beatty Library. The films portray vital elements of Arab life, and are some of the very best movies coming out of the region. The festival opened with a glitzy red carpet reception, welcoming guests who were invited to watch the opening film, ‘Solitaire’, a moving comedy-drama that depicts the tensions between families in Syria and Lebanon.
Dubai Duty Free’s sponsorship has been essential to the festival’s success, acting as an anchor since the latter’s inception.
Speaking ahead of this year’s DAFF, Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free said: “We are proud to be back in Dublin once again to support the fourth Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF). The links between Ireland and the Arab world continue to grow stronger with each passing year, and we have seen that through the number of Irish people travelling to Dubai for both business and leisure. Ireland has been doing business with Dubai for many years and it is important to continually build on our core business and cultural relationships.”
Colm further commented: “At DAFF, film lovers will be offered a unique glimpse into the Arab world and we look forward to supporting the event and watching it develop further over the coming years. Congratulations to Jim Sheridan and Zahara Moufid for bringing the fourth edition of DAFF to Ireland.”
Sinead El Sibai, vice-president of marketing of Dubai Duty Free, said: “The standard of the films that will be shown at DAFF is second to none and will really inspire and engage Irish audiences.”
Dubai Duty Free is no stranger to the arts and is a founding sponsor of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), a diamond sponsor of the Dubai Community Centre and Arts Community (DUCTAC), a sponsor of the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and a sponsor of the ChoirFest.
Jim Sheridan said: “One of the films which will be shown during DAFF is director Vatche Boulghourjian’s, Tramontane. This film is incredible and has been put forward to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) in Los Angeles for consideration for Best Foreign Film at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards. The interesting thing is that the nomination for Tramontane was made by The Dubai International Film Festival, as they saw it as being a serious contender in next year’s Golden Globes. That says a lot about the standard of films which will be shown at DAFF this year.”
Omar Sharif, a renowned film legend and one of the greatest movie stars of all time, was the guest of honour in the first edition of DAFF. The festival showcased some of Omar’s classic movies including Lawrence of Arabia and his last piece of work Monsieur Ibrahim.
Sheridan commented: “Omar was a dear friend of mine who has sadly passed on, but his great work lives on through his films. Last year we too were delighted with the impact the festival had and one of the movies we showcased was a short film I made on 9/11 called 11th Hour. Movies have an ability to tell a story through someone else’s eyes, it can make people really feel something and to have great empathy with other cultures. We hope that our programme of films in this festival will move, inspire, and entertain audiences.”