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.
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…