Dubai International Film Festival will present the Lebanese film Tramontane by Vatche Boulghorjian and the Egyptian film Mawlana by Magdi Ahmad Ali to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) next week, for consideration in the Best Foreign Film category at the Golden Globe Awards.
The films will be screened on September 21 in Los Angeles, in the attendance of both filmmakers and HFPA.
Tramontane, the first directorial feature from Boulghourjian, follows Rabih, a young blind man in a small village who sings in a choir and edits Braille documents for a living. He discovers that his ID is forged and must travel across rural Lebanon in search of his own birth records and true identity. The film was supported by Diff’s post-production initiative Enjaaz and won a Muhr Award at the festival last year, as well as a Grand Golden Rail at Cannes Film Festival.
Mawlana, based on a best-selling book by Ebrahim Eissa, centres around Shaikh Hatem, who goes from leading prayers at a government mosque to being a popular TV personality. His unconventional fatwas stand out in a society permeated by fundamentalist views.
“Arab cinema is still overlooked in the mainstream despite many films from the region receiving critical acclaim at festivals around the world. Both Tramontane and Mawlana are compelling films with a universal appeal and deserve to be seen by a wider audience,” said Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of Diff, in a press release.
The UAE will also put forth a film for consideration in the Oscars race this year, for the first time in history; the chosen film has yet to be announced.