Arabian Nights and Celebration of Indian Cinema: Dubai Film Festival
The 2007 Dubai Film Festival, which runs Dec. 9–16, will offer several world premieres, mostly in its Arabian Nights and Celebration of Indian Cinema sidebars.
Among the Arabian Nights premieres are the following:
- Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch's Whatever Lola Wants, starring Carmen Lebbos and Laura Ramsey as, respectively, a legendary Egyptian dancer and a New York dance student.
- Amin Matalqa's Captain Abu Raed, starring Nadim Sawalha, and reportedly the first Jordanian feature film in decades.
- Borhane Alaouié's Khalass, about four characters struggling to resume their lives in post-civil war Beirut.
Celebration of Indian Cinema
The premieres in the Celebration of Indian Cinema sidebar are:
- Jag Mundhra's political thriller Shoot-on-Sight, which follows a Scotland Yard inspector investigating the police shooting of an alleged Muslim terrorist – an incident inspired by the 2005 murder of a Brazilian man by London police. Naseeruddin Shah stars.
- Remo D'Souza's A Story of the Red Hills, described as the tale of a broken-hearted dancer and a disabled boy.
- The director's cut of Akbar Khan's costly Bollywood romantic epic Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story, starring Kabir Bedi, Zulfikar Syed, and Sonya Jehan.
Frozen body in the Kashmiri Himalayas
Another entry in the Dubai Film Festival's Celebration of Indian Cinema sidebar is Shivajee Chandrabhushan's feature-film debut, Frozen, set in the Kashmiri Himalayas.
Written by Shanker Raman (from a story by Chandrabhushan), Frozen follows a teenage girl living with her father and younger brother in a remote mountain village. The family's harsh but peaceful existence is drastically disrupted after the army settles at a nearby camp. The title refers to a frozen body found after the arrival of the military.
Spoken in Hindi and Ladakhi, and shot in black and white (by screenwriter Raman) so as to convey the region's stark beauty, Frozen was filmed at freezing temperatures at 12,000-foot altitudes (approx. 3,600 meters above sea level).
Earlier this year, Frozen won the Special Jury Award at the Osian-Cinefan Film Festival in Delhi.
In the cast are veteran action hero Danny Denzongpa, Gauri, and Skalzang Angchuk.
Cinema of Africa
And finally, the Dubai Film Festival's Cinema of Africa sidebar will screen the premiere of Rayda Jacobs' comedy Confessions of a Gambler, the story of a devout Muslim whose moral compass goes awry following his jackpot win at a casino.
Dubai Film Festival website.
Belly-dancing Laura Ramsey Whatever Lola Wants image: Pathé.
Frozen movie image: Seagull Media Productions.
CineKink presents two Tony Comstock documentaries
In other movie festival news, the sex-friendly mini-film festival CineKink will be presenting two Tony Comstock-directed documentaries on the private sex lives of adult film industry celebrities – Damon and Hunter: Doing It Together (2006) and Marie and Jack: A Hardcore Love Story (2002). The screenings will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York City. Comstock will be on hand for a post-screening discussion.
Melbourne Underground Film Festival winner Damon and Hunter: Doing It Together offers what's described as a “truly intimate look” at gay adult stars Damon DeMarco and Hunter James, who became emotionally involved with each other.
Tony Comstock's first documentary, Marie and Jack: A Hardcore Love Story showcases “the private sex life” of married adult stars Marie Silva (a.k.a. Aria) and Jack Bravo (a.k.a. Jack Spade).
The former documentary has a 46-minute running time; the latter lasts 28 minutes.
Earlier this year, Comstock's Ashley and Kisha: Finding the Right Fit won three awards at Melbourne Underground: Best Foreign Film, Best Foreign Director, and Best Gratuitous Use of Sex.
The Two Boots Pioneer Theater is located at 155 E. Third Street (and Avenue A). Tickets are $10; $6.50 for seniors/students; 18+ only.
Jack Bravo and Marie Silva Marie and Jack: A Hardcore Love Story image: Comstock Films.
21st Leeds Film Festival Awards
And finally, the 2007 Leeds International Film Festival was held between Nov. 7–18. Tony Stone's Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America was voted Best Film in the Official Competition. The Leeds festival jury's cryptic comments about the adventure drama read:
“This extraordinary film goes all out with its regressive strategies, doing as much as possible to achieve as little as possible. Extending cinema's existing parameters, we are challenged to question all assumptions we may bring to this film, including whether it is even a film at all. Whilst this seemingly simple maximalist spectacular remains bravely and resolutely indeterminable to the point of barely existing, its heroic and whole-hearted engagement with failure may be one of the most interesting and successful terrorist interventions in cinema we have yet seen. Huge. And yet hardly there.”
Partially shot in Newfoundland, Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America tells the story of two Norsemen who are separated from their tribesmen while on an 11th-century expedition in North America. The film's soundtrack features both heavy metal and light opera.
Below is the list of the 2007 Leeds Film Festival winners.
Golden Owl Award
Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America.
Noise, dir.: Matthew Saville & The Man from the Embassy, dir.: Dito Tsintsadze.
Best Short Film
Aie, dir.: Virginie Gourmel.
Coco-Nuts & Dad.
Best Animated Short Film
Méliès d'Argent Award (feature film)
The Orphanage / El Orfanato, dir.: J.A. Bayona, Mexico / Spain.
Special Jury Mention
Hyena / Hiena, dir.: Grzegorz Lewandowski, Poland.
Méliès d'Or Nomination (short film)
Machine / Máquina, dir.: Gabe Ibáñez, Spain.
Special Jury Mention
Moment of Glory / Moment de gloire, dir.: Hendrik Moonen, Belgium.
Golden Owl Jury
Laurin Federlein, director.
Rocio Freire-Bernat, distributor of world cinema in Britain.
Christopher Thomas, filmmaker and Director of the Institute for New Cinema.
Leeds Film Festival website.
Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America image: Magnolia Pictures.
“Dubai Film Festival: Belly Dancing & Frozen Body + Tony Comstock Adult Film Star Documentaries” last updated in April 2018.