Dubai 2013: One Night To Change Lives
Posted on Friday December 13, 2013, 13:11 by Simon Braund in Under The Radar
On Wednesday night, the DIFF rolled out the red carpet for the third annual One Night To Change Lives fundraiser in aid of UAE-based philanthropic outfit Dubai Cares and Oxfam. The star-studded charity dinner took place at the Armani Hotel, situated on the 39th floor of the Burj Khalifa (which is barely out of the basement; the building rises a further 124 floors of elegantly tapering magnificence) and welcomed, among a plethora of luminaries, Mark Ruffalo, Rooney Mara, Naomie Harris, Lindiwe Matshikiza (Harris’s Mandela co-star), The Living Daylights actress Maryam D’Abo; trip-hop pioneer Goldie, and Bollywood stars Arjun Rampal and Rahul Bose. The auction, conducted by Ruffalo, an Oxfam Global Ambassador, raised over $1 million to provide vital aid to displaced Syrian children and their families.
Items under the hammer included two tickets to the world premier of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (donated by Scarlett Johansson, an ardent Oxfam supporter) and a host of Bond memorabilia, the centerpiece of which was a unique, 007-themed Aston Martin Vanquish.
Wednesday also saw a gala screening of Indian director Ritesh Batra’s touching drama The Lunchbox, which charts the virtual romance between a jaded housewife and a lonely older man, that blossoms not on the internet but via Mumbai’s intricate system of lunchbox deliveries.
Another film that caught the attention on Wednesday was Traiters, director Sean Gulette’s feature debut about the gutsy lead singer of an all-girl Tangier punk band who undertakes a risky drug-smuggling operation to raise cash for the band and to save her family from eviction.
Thursday was marked by the red carpet gala screening of another film set in Tangier – Laila Marrakchi’s Rock The Casbah. Not, as might be assumed, a documentary about the making of the 1982 Clash album Combat Rock, but a powerful ensemble drama in which a Moroccan family reunites to mourn the death of their father. Emotions run high, harsh truths are confronted and cultural values are reassessed in the absence of the patriarch’s guiding hand.
As far as extra-curricular activities go, the main event on Thursday – apart from the sit-down dinner and auction itself – was the glittering after party, held in the soaring shadow of the Burg Khalifa. Last night, a certain ‘absolutely fabulous’ London department store hosted a bash at the Madinat Fort Island. But, since they didn’t deem Empire worthy of an invite, more on that we can’t say.