Ang Lee’s 3D epic “Life of Pi” will open the ninth Dubai Film Festival, where a wide range of prime international fare will unspool, including 52 world preems mostly from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The Gulf region’s prime platform has also secured several world bows from other areas, such as U.S. indie thriller “Officer Down,” starring Stephen Dorff and helmed by first-timer Brian A. Miller; Argentine first-timer Dario Nardi’s drama “Sadourni’s Butterflies,” produced by Donald Ranvaud’s Buena Onda; and docu “Death Metal Angola” by New York-based Jeremy Xido.

As for the Muhr Arab Feature section at Dubai’s core, Kurdish helmer Karzan Kader’s “Bekas,” about two homeless boys in Iraqi Kurdistan who sneak off to see “Superman” during Saddam Hussein’s regime and decide to flee to America on a donkey, and Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al Mansour’s much praised “Wadjda,” about a young girl whose desire to ride a bicycle pushes the boundaries of a woman’s place in Saudi society, will both receive gala screenings.

Fest runs Dec. 9-16.