The Gala line-up for Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2009 promises to showcase the creative brilliance of both industry frontrunners and emerging talents in the movie world.

According to DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amr Allah Al Ali, the Galas at DIFF capture the soul, spirit and spectacle of the festival. "These screenings define DIFF — in terms of the power of film content, diversity of films with an international outlook and the sheer enthusiasm of the audience." Here's what the Gala line-up looks like:


Rob Marshall's Nine, a multi-layered adaptation of the popular stage play will open the 6th edition of the week-long DIFF. The film depicts the mid-life crisis of a director struggling with creativity that leads him to a series of complicated romantic entanglements with his wife, mistress and muse. The acclaimed director of Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha, Marshall is scheduled to direct the next instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren

Director: Rob Marshall

When: December 9

Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year

Joining the opening film will be young Indian sensation Ranbir Kapoor's Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, which will be screened at the Indian Cinema Gala. The film is a cheerful yet sharp satire on office life in Mumbai's booming IT industry.

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Shazahn Padamsee, Gauhar Khan

Director: Shimit Amin of Chak De India-fame

When: December 10


DIFF, in conjunction with Lightstorm, Twentieth Century Fox and Empire International, will present Avatar, Oscar-winning Titanic director James Cameron's epic motion picture adventure as the spectacular finale to this year's festival. The live-action film promises to deliver an immersive cinematic experience of a new kind and take us to a world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on an adventure, ultimately fighting to save the alien world he has learned to call home.

Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang and Michelle Rodriguez

Director: James Cameron

When: December 15

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Children's favourite Alvin and the Chipmunks will return with their ‘squeakel' for the Cinema for Children Gala. The chipmunk chums, this time, are striving for pop stardom at their school competition while encountering their wily female counterparts, a sassy trio called The Chipettes.

Starring: Jason Lee and David Cross, and featuring the voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney

Director: Betty Thomas

When: December 11

Mother and Child

Mother and Child will grab the limelight at the Cinema of the World Gala. The joyous yet melancholic story features three parallel narratives, probing the extraordinary nature of motherhood.

Starring: Naomi Watts, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and Shareeka Epps

Director: Rodrigo Garcia

When: December 12


The highly anticipated Cartagena will be showcased in the In Focus France Gala. Based on the novel L'Homme de Chevet and set against a Colombian backdrop, the love story involves a former boxing champion and a paralysed woman for whom he cares.

Starring: Sophie Marceau and Christopher Lambert

Director: Alain Monne

When: December 14


The Cultural Bridge presentation is the world premiere of Julia Bacha's Budrus, in which a Palestinian leader unites Fatah, Hamas and Israelis in an unarmed movement to save his village from destruction. Success eludes them until his 15-year-old daughter jumps into the fray.

Director: Julia Bacha

When: December 13

City of Life

Highlighting the effectiveness of DIFF in nurturing home-grown talent, the Arabian Nights Gala will screen City of Life — the first multilingual Emirati film written, produced and directed by Ali F. Mostafa. Shot in Dubai, the film is intended for both local and global release and revolves around three lives — a privileged Emirati male, a disillusioned Indian taxi driver and a Western woman — whose lives collide for better or worse. This is the first time an Emirati feature film has been given a gala screening at DIFF.

Starring: Alexandra Maria Lara, Sonu Sood, Saoud Al Ka'abi, Yassin Al Saman, Jason Flemming, Natalie Dormer, Ahmad Ahmad, Habib Ghuloom and Javed Jaffery

Director: Ali F. Mostafa

When: December 11