Hilary Swank and Demi Moore starred for the United States at the opening of the Third Middle East Film Festival in the UAE capital on Thursday, while a host of Arab performers shared the spotlight.
Swank, in a long white gown by Lebanese designer Elie Saab, and Moore, wearing a simple black dress enhanced by a necklace of black pearls and diamonds, won rapturous applause as they walked up the red carpet into the luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel.
The festival opened with the movie "The Traveller", directed by Egyptian director Ahmed Maher and starring Omar Sharif, Khalid Abdel Nabi and Cyrine Abdelnour, previously shown at the Venice Film Festival last month.
Sharif missed the festival opening ceremony but Abdelnour, a Lebanese actress in her first starring role, joined other guests for a gala evening on the hotel's floodlit seafront terrace, where champagne flowed freely.
Frida Pinto, star of Indian film Slumdog Millionaire, was among international visitors clad in evening gown or dinner jacket who moved among Emirati men in long white dishdashes and women in black dresses.
Actors and actresses from Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey joined the throng at the opening of the festival, which aims to highlight regional cinema and has films by Egyptian, Iraqi and Palestinian directors on the programme.
The festival awarded a special "Black Pearl" award to British actress Vanessa Redgrave for her life's work. Hilary Swank presented the award to Redgrave's husband, Italian actor Franco Nero.
The festival lineup is headed by "Son of Babylon", a movie about an Iraqi boy set in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's fall.Reuse content