What’s Dubai wearing #RedCarpet, #WDWD, #DIFF2106

There’s a deep emotional connection between the two industries that produce dreams: fashion and cinematography. One appeared spontaniously in a previous millennia, probably when a cave teenager refused to wear a hat to be different, the other – invented during a series of scientific experiments in motion picture photography. Yves Saint Lauren said “Les modes passent, le style est eternal…”. The same can be said of film vs. cinema, as even the oldest Brothers Lumieres cinematography is a form of immortal art. Surprisingly though the Dubai Film Festival’s style and red carpet often drew more attention than the screenings.

Divided by four popular fashion choices, tailored gowns, “mix and match” tuxedos, fantasy outfits and traditional fusion, guests and participants united in looking effortlessly glamorous guided by dress-codes, personal taste and the work of designers. I couldn’t take my eyes off fabulous Tuba Buyukustun, a female actor from Turkey, who in her dreamy long gowns created an Art Deco illusion.

Initially spotted in a crowd of admirers, it took me a day to build the confidence to approach Eileen Level. With a straightforward mission to photograph Eileen in her incredible hat, I ended up admiring her perfectly shaped face, charismatic sense of fashion and spontaneous jokes. Come back to Dubai, girl!

PC105385.JPG

Forever-young brunette Andie MacDowell made two quite remarkable appearances during DIFF 2016. Dressed in a tailored beige trouser suit, she delivered a sharp yet very personable masterclass to a demanding audience of international media reps. Later that evening, perfect in every detail, Andie was dazzling with confidence in a dark blue sequin gown at the Global Gala.

A girl who created waves and sighs of admiration from “seen it all” red carpet pool photographers and critics alike was Jordan-based influencer Hiba Assad. Being a stunning beauty she wore an exceptional black dress with a leather like corsage and flirty skirt by Dania Dahleh.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My own astonishing fashion crush of the year occurred when mega popular Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh stepped onto the Red Carpet looking magical in a dark violet cape on top of a 3-piece earthy suit paired with gorgeous hair and a noble mustache. For the next couple of days I ran into him striking poses in completely unrecognizable looks that could be described varyingly as edgy, fancy, hipster, posh and even conservative. Wish I was quick enough to steal his stylist’s number. See for yourself!

Glowing with happiness and timeless beauty, Shirina Fotuhi, a creative mind behind Coega sunwear marketing was in high demand at Harpers Bazaar best dressed lounge. Rushing to the premier of “Rogue One: Star Wars story”, she looked fabulously daring in her “Happy Sithmas” shirt paired with tight leggings, denim jacket from Maison Clad and stilettos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My choice for most entertaining Red Carpet appearance would go to English actor Bill Nighy. Striking pose after pose in his sharp dark navy suit (no tie), Bill found time for every photographer in the pool, boosting energy and encouraging bursts of laughter. His speech at “Their Finest” premier alone deserved a big shiny trophy and standing applause.

Emirati photographer Ismail Hemaid looked fantastic in a traditional dishdash empowered with enthusiasm, professionalism and a great sense of humor. Can you tell he has been working loooong hours?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Attending DIFF 2016 has demonstrated once again the importance of attracting individuals from all over the world, who inspire, provoke debates, mentor, express and create dreams. Both cinematography and fashion are charisma driven industries and watching them in action is a lot of fun! Cheers to the great people who shape the style of entertainment:

The Siren dress by Kris Jane, an emerging designer with an artistic touch brought me luck, fame  and most importantly new followers (hooray!).

 

Stalk me on Instagram or Facebook

DIFF 2016 – let’s “junket”

The 13th Dubai Film Festival was busy, buzzy and glorious!  Packed with a diverse selection of movies from more than 50 countries, including virtual reality shorts showcased by Samsung, the festival appealed to a wider audience than ever. Appearances by stars (Andie MacDowell, Samuel L. Jackson, Olga Kurylenko), famous film directors (John Madden), social media influencers and beautiful people from all over the world added extra glamour transforming DIFF into a perfect event.

Almost perfect. The real magic of DIFF happened outside the theaters at these little, hidden from public, industry focused events. Today let’s talk about junkets.

Usually associated with a leisure trip (politics) or a dessert (watch out), the term “press junket” is often used in professional slang to describe a promotional activity that involves interviews with the key figures from film production. In the context of DIFF, all press junkets involved tet-a-tet interviews followed by photo sessions. Frankly they still remained that exclusively pleasant definition for the few media reps who manage to be on the pre-approved list.

PC085222.JPG
Look at that happy face for example!

The venue for this year’s junkets couldn’t be any sweeter! Set at Bahri’s bar with a breathtaking view on the world’s only 7 stars hotel, attendees benefited from freshly brewed coffee, sea breeze and stimulating energy generated by creative minds.

The most popular (read hard to get) face-to-face interviews were with the director of “Miss Sloane”, John Madden who talked about his new film, his thoughts on casting Jessica Chasten (again!), and the challenges of releasing a political thriller with a female lead in Trump’s America.

The loudest junket turned out to be for the stars of the newly released Bollywood movie “Befikre”. Cursing myself for not attending the premier screening, I missed a real treat. The movie was made in the best tradition of Bollywood with the expected dancing/singing mixed with complicated love drama. However Befikre also broke taboos by showing real kisses by stars in denim (a rare fashion choice). Additionally, the excitement level was boosted by expectations of watching Ranveer Singh (the main guy) walking around in tiny swimwear. In real life Ranveer Singh was hardly recognizable.

To be continued…

Stalk me on Instagram or Facebook

Dubai International Film Festival. The Opening.

The 13th Dubai International Film festival opened last night with a red carpet screening of “Miss Sloane” by British Director John Madden (loved for “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Debt”). Surrounded by the breathtaking architecture of Madinat Jumeirah, traditional Arabian style with water canals, palm trees and a crystal clear beach, the DIFF venue resembled a Hollywood studio set from the Golden Age inspired by the tales of One Thousand and One Nights. The festival’s focus on regional talent and industry was no surprise.

At the opening, the red carpet was overflowing with guests and celebrities rushing in to the screening. Obviously there was press too, represented by leading UAE media giants like Dubai One, Gulf News, Dubai Eye and my favourite Harpers Bazaar Arabia (among others). I did on occasion feel like a sassy well-trained paparazzi snapping photos on the go.

The event was as theatrical as expected, with a ruby red carpet rolled under the stars, powerful stage lights, and beautiful people from all over the world appearing and disappearing like a dream sparkling with diamonds, confidence and haute couture outfits (incredible #WIWT by Indian actor Ranveer Singh). It was overwhelmingly exciting to spot the dangerously dazzling Olga Kurylenko (Bond girl!), the crew of “The Eagle Huntress” (amazing cinematography) and, no introduction needed, Samuel L. Jackson.

The opening ceremony started with Lifetime Achievement Awards celebrating film industry contributions. Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, Indian actor Rekha and Samuel L. Jackson were honoured.

The premier screening, “Miss Sloane”, was an intense fast-paced political thriller focused on American political intrigue (hot topic this year!) and the controversial subject of gun control. With a strong leading female character played by Jessica Chastain (secret agent in “The Debt”), I was curious if her previous performance influenced John Madden’s decision to cast her in this role. This year’s program has been passionately selected by organizers and consisted of more than 150 movies from over 50 countries. In my opinion (it’s so personal!) other films to watch out for included: “Their Finest”, “Swallows and Amazons”, “La La Land”, “Rogue One: the Star Wars story”, “Jackie” and “Manchester by the sea” (reviews to follow). Meanwhile here are some exclusive behind the scenes photos of DIFF 13th opening night in making:

To be continued…

Stalk me on Instagram or Facebook