Six exciting films set to feature at this year’s Dublin Arabic Film Festival

Oscar- nominated film maker, Jim Sheridan and Festival Director Zahara Moufid’s fifth annual Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) will open on Friday, October 5th at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Dublin’s Temple Bar.  The festival, which runs from October 5th-7th has been developed in partnership with the IFI and is again presented by Dubai Duty Free.

This year’s festival will include six films, five of which will be shown at the IFI and one at the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle.  Films showing over the festival at the IFI include the opening film Looking for Oum Kulthum, Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari’s drama about Oum Kulthum, the legendary Egyptian singer and diva, Amr Salama’s Sheikh Jackson and Ziad Doueiri’s The Insult will screen on Saturday, October 6th, while Karim Moussaoui’s Until the Birds Return and Tala Hadid’s House in the Fields will screen on Sunday 7th.  The Chester Beatty Library (CBL) will also show Nadine Labaki’s comedy Caramel at 14.00 on Saturday, 6th; admission to the CBL screening will be free of charge.

DAFF has proved to be a great success since its inception inaugural year in 2014 when movie great, Omar Sharif’s first opened the festival.  Over the past four years, DAFF has attracted dedicated movie fans, directors and actors from all over the world including Dubai, Egypt and Morocco. International and Irish famous faces at the festival over the years include U2’s, The Edge, actress Amy Huberman, singer Damien Dempsey, and ambassadors from several Arab countries.

Commenting on this year’s programme, Jim Sheridan said, “Last year the place of women in Arabic society emerged as one of the key themes of the festival and it is once again one of the central themes of this year’s festival with three films being directed by women. House in the Fields is brilliantly directed by Tala Hadid, while the opening film, Looking for Oum Kulthum was co- directed by Shirin Neshat.  Caramel, directed by the Lebanese director and actress, Nadine Labaki is a comedy and explores the theme of life, love and the pursuit of happiness and will be shown at the Chester Beatty Library.

Ross Keane, the Director of the IFI, said, “The IFI is proud to once again host the annual Dublin Arabic Film Festival. The continuing growth and popularity of this festival is a testament to the vibrant cinema of the Middle East and North Africa and remains a hugely important part of our strategic commitment to exhibiting the very best of international cinema from the four corners of the globe.”

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, the presenting sponsor of DAFF said, “Dubai Duty Free has been the presenting sponsor of DAFF since its inaugural year.  Since that time we have seen the popularity of the festival grow.  Irish audiences are interested in travel, culture and exploring the Arab world.  We know this, as we see huge numbers of Irish people travelling through Dubai International Airport and Dubai Duty Free as they travel to the city for both business and leisure.”

Looking for Oum Kulthum, the festival’s opening film, tells the story of Mitra, an ambitious artist in her forties who embarks on her dream project of making a film about the legendary Egyptian singer and diva Oum Kulthum. The film explores the struggles, sacrifices and the price of Oum Kulthum’s success as a female artist in a male- dominated society.

Affecting drama, Sheikh Jackson tells the story of Khaled, a respected junior cleric in Alexandria whose seemingly stable life becomes derailed by the news of Michael Jackson’s death. Succumbing to long-suppressed feelings of turmoil and anxiety, he begins neglecting his wife and child and experiences flashbacks to his teenage years, when he was nicknamed ‘Jackson’ on account of love for the King of Pop.

Ziad Doueiri’s The Insult, which was shortlisted for this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar, tells the story of how a minor altercation between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestian refugee escalates into a public dispute that comes to encapsulate the lasting legacy of the Lebanese Civil War.

Documentary House in the Fields centres on an isolated rural Amazigh village in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. A portrait of a community that has remained unchanged for hundreds of years despite the rapidly accelerating socio-political realities of the country, the film observes and faithfully records the lives of the villagers.

In Until the Birds Return, past and present collide in the lives three people, in this gripping film that exposes the soul of contemporary Algerian society.

Finally, the Chester Beatty Library will show Caramel, a comedy set in a beauty salon in Beirut which provides a haven for five women, each with busy and complex personal lives. With the support of their friends in their familiar salon, the women search for the answers to questions of life, love and happiness in Nadine Labaki’s charming 2007 film.

Tickets for screenings at the IFI can be booked online at or by calling the IFI Box Office on (01) 6793477. Admission to the screening of   Caramel at The Chester Beatty Library is free and booking is not required.  For more information see












Friday, October 5th

20.00     Looking for Oum Kulthum (IFI)


Saturday, October 6th

14.00     Sheikh Jackson (IFI)

14.00     Caramel (Chester Beatty Library)

16.10     The Insult (IFI)


Sunday, October 7th

14.00     House in the Fields (IFI)

16.00     Until the Birds Return (IFI)




For further press information or photography, please contact Aileen O’Brien or Aisling Kelly at O’Brien PR on (045) 407017, Aileen mobile (086) 8403624,,  The Opening Night reception at the Irish Film Institute, is open to press, however RSVP’s are essential.  Please contact O’Brien PR by responding to

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan and Festival Director, Zahara Moufid are also available for interview as well as Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, Niall Holohan of the Arab Irish Chamber and Ross Keane, Director of the IFI.

For any IFI media requests, please contact Shauna Lyons on (01) 612 9448 or email










Notes to Editors


About DAFF, Presented by Dubai Duty Free


The fifth event of its kind in Ireland, DAFF, Presented by Dubai Duty Free will take place at The Irish Film Institute and the Chester Beatty Library 5-7th October, Dublin.  With festival director Zahara Moufid at the helm and Oscar nominated movie producer Jim Sheridan serving as Festival President DAFF, Presented by Dubai Duty Free, celebrates some of the best feature films the Arab world has to offer.  The very first festival featured a visit to Ireland by legendary movie icon, Omar Sharif in 2014.  For more details see


About The IFI


The Irish Film Institute is Ireland’s national cultural institution for film. It provides audiences throughout Ireland with access to the finest independent, Irish and international cinema; it preserves and promotes Ireland’s moving image heritage through the IFI Irish Film Archive and provides opportunities for audiences of all ages and backgrounds to learn and critically engage with film. IFI is principally funded by the Arts Council.


About Dubai Duty Free


Dubai Duty Free which was founded in 1983, recorded first-year sales of US$20, has grown into one of the biggest travel retail operators in the world with sales turnover of US$1.93 billion in 2017.


Now employing over 6,000 people, the operation has consistently raised the benchmark for airport retailing and it continues to grow. Dubai Duty Free currently operates some 38,000sqm of retail space at Dubai International Airport and 2,500 sqm at Al Maktoum International that will grow in line with the massive development plans of Dubai South, which ultimately cover some 80,000sqm of retail.


In addition to its retail operation, Dubai Duty Free operates a Leisure Division which includes The Irish Village, both in Garhoud and Riverland Dubai, The Century Village, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and The Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.


While the successful running of the shop floor is a major focus for Dubai Duty Free, the operation is highly committed to promoting Dubai through a series of high level sporting events including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.


To date, Dubai Duty Free has received 600 awards including the Frontier Awards for ‘Airport Retailer of the Year in Single Location’, which was won by the operation for the eighth time.


Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Colm McLoughlin was also presented with several awards including the “Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award” and the CEO Middle East Awards for “Retail CEO of the Year”. In addition, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of the University (DUniv) by the Middlesex University Dubai, for his contribution to UAE society and outstanding service to the aviation sector as a key player in the region’s retail sector for 34 years.


Sponsors of DAFF:


Dubai Duty Free (Presenting Sponsor)

Arab Irish Chamber

Dublin City Council

Tourism Ireland

Sunway Holidays

Bacchus Vinos