Wednesday 24 January 2018

Icon Sharif will attend Arabic movie festival

Director Jim Sheridan
Director Jim Sheridan
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Wouldn't you think Jim Sheridan, a six-time Oscar nominee, would know better? We had a good laugh on Wednesday after drama in the first race at Punchestown.

"I'm an idiot," declared the affable film director with a hearty chuckle.

"I backed Flatfoot Boogie but it was just beaten by Master Oscar," said Jim, who was first nominated for an Oscar in 1989 for My Left Foot, followed by In The Name of the Father in 1993 and In America in 2003.

Jim is busy putting together the final details of the inaugural Dublin-Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) which is sponsored by Dubai Duty Free and takes place May 8-11 at the Lighthouse Cinema and the Chester Beatty library.

"There are millions of reasons why I wanted to do this festival. One stemmed from a phone call I had with Marlon Brando after 9/11, when he commented, 'there will never be another Omar Sharif'."

If Brando – who declined his Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather because of the portrayal of Native Americans in film – was worried that the film industry would ignore Arab actors after the World Trade Center bombings, he would be totally rooting for Jim's latest endeavour.

Jim is not just the face of the festival, he is one of its main organisers, and, after a quick trip to Paris, he talked screen idol Omar Sharif into coming to the opening night and a screening of his movie Monsieur Ibrahim.

Like Jim, Omar was nominated for an Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor in Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, and there will be a special screening of the celebrated movie at the Chester Beatty Library on May 10.

Omar, who stole women's hearts around the world for his roles in Dr Zhivago and Funny Girl, will attend the festival along with Oscar nominated director Hany Abu-Assad, Sinead El Sibai, vice president of marketing for Dubai Duty Free, festival director Zhara Moufid, the UAE Ambassador to Ireland, Khalid Nasser Rashid Lootah and representatives from Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts.

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