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Dubai fest unveils ‘Rhythm’ initiative

Gloria Estefan to perform for first time in region

DUBAI — The rhythm is going to get the Dubai Intl. Film Festival.

Fest organizers unveiled a new initiative, “Rhythm and Reels,” to take place during this year’s edition, which unspools Dec. 9-16.

The three-day event, which begins Dec. 13, will bring Grammy Award-winning songstress Gloria Estefan to Dubai to perform her first-ever concert in the Middle East. The concert will take place following the world preem of “90 Millas,” directed by hubby Emilio Estefan. The film, whose title refers to the distance between Cuba and Florida, looks into the lives of Cuban musicians in exile in the U.S.

“Music and film go hand in hand, and each can move audiences equally, needing no translation,” said fest m.d. Shivani Pandya.

The second film in the series will be “The White Thread,” a doc by Moroccan helmer Khalil Benkirane about San Francisco DJ Cheb I Sabbah who mixes Moroccan folk songs with modern dance beats. The screening will be followed by a performance by Moroccan DJ Zayan Freeman and Bnet Marrakech, a group of gypsy women singing in traditional Berber and Arabic styles.

The final night will feature a screening of Julie Taymor’s Beatles-influenced “Across the Universe,” to be followed by a multimedia “Best of the British Invasions” show, featuring music from the Fab Four, the Rolling Stones, Elton John and David Bowie.

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