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ION International Film Festival Announces the Successful Launch of its 5th Annual Film Festival in Dubai, UAE.

Los Angeles, CA – The 5th Annual ION International Film Festival was held at the Third
Line Gallery in Dubai, UAE on February 7th, 2009. The festival featured nineteen films
produced by filmmakers from eleven different countries. Amongst the diverse guests
who took part in the festival were various members of the UAE press and film industry.

Up and coming filmmaker, Walid Akhtouf was available to take questions from the
audience regarding is artistic and raw look into life in Algiers. “This was an opportunity
for a talented young filmmaker, like Walid, straight out film school, to showcase his
work and receive some recognition for it,” says ION International Film Festival
Ambassador, Mona Bavar. “ION has been able to facilitate a platform to promote and
give independent filmmakers the confidence to continue making great work.”

The Third Line Gallery proved to be the ideal setting for the 5th Annual ION International
Film Festival. Entry was free as were refreshments and snacks. The intimacy of the
Third Line Gallery provided a comfortable environment for filmmakers and audiences to meet and network.

More information is available on the web at or by phone at (310) 659-0122.

5th annual Ion: Saturday, February 7th 2009
click here to view the gAllery
The Third Line, Dubai. The Waqif Art Centre at Souq Waqif FESTIVALHIGHLIGHTS
Narrative Feature:
Vanaja (feature - 1:51:00)
Directed by: Rajnesh Domalpalli

Vanaja, the 15-year-old daughter of a financially troubled fisherman goes to work in the local landlady's house in hopes of learning Kuchipudi dance. She does well, but when the Landlady's son returns from the US, what begins as innocent sexual chemistry turns ugly, ending in a rape - a rape of a minor. Set in rural South India, a place where social barriers are built stronger than ancient fort walls, the film explores the chasm that divides classes as a young girl struggles to come of age.
The Ordinary Radicals (feature - 1:43:00)
Directed by: Jamie Moffett

Following Shane Claiborne and a rag-tag group of "ordinary radicals' around the country as they tout 'Jesus For President' during an election year, director Jamie Moffett investigates another chapter in the often explosive intersection of faith and politics, examining this growing movement from his non-Christian viewpoint in a way that engages people of all faith perspectives.
  Day of Rain (feature - 1:30:00)
Directed by: Esmael Barai

In a small desert village its inhabitants are struggling with a drought. The efforts of the officials have been fleeting and villagers begin to leave. As a last solution they hold a Rain Prayer ceremony but two orphans are asking for different prayer...they are praying for no rain.
Tea on the Axis of Evil (documentary - 1:07:00)
Directed by: Jean Marie Offenbacher
Syrian Arab Republic

Syria was admitted to the "axis of evil", so it was time to move and drink tea with the locals - to get the news the Times was not fit to print. After establishing her motivation for making 'TEA', the filmmaker fades from the picture.

The first scene in Syria inter-cuts Christian children at First Communion with Muslim boys practicing a whirling dance. A driver discusses his ancestors' history of religious diversity: first as followers of 'Mr. Moses', then 'Mr. Jesus', and now he is Muslim. Maps animate a quick history of conquests and are used throughout the film for geographic orientation. A narrator fills in cultural details lifted from letters written home by the filmmaker.

Sensual and funny characters reveal the dance between tradition and modernity as they discuss art, education, dating, marriage and religion. Young men working in ancient markets flirt with foreigners by day, but are guarded closely by their conservative families at night. University students attend late-night mixed parties, but rarely date.
This film is one small attempt to bring those voices into the bigger picture.

  The Brothers Warner (Documentary - 1:30:00)
Directed by: Cass Warner

An intimate portrait of the four film pioneers who founded and ran Warner Bros. studios for over 50 years. This epic story is told in the voice of Harry Warner's granddaughter and includes never before seen photos and footage from the family archives. A band of brothers who rose from immigrant poverty through personal tragedies persevering to create a major studio with a social conscience.

Cambodia Dreams (Documentary)
Directed by: Stanley Harper

Cambodia Dreams chronicles the parallel lives of one family, half of whom went to one of the refugee camps in Thailand, while the other half stayed in their village in Cambodia.

This seemingly simple story is enriched by the grand-mother, who has an extraordinary grasp of the complex issues involved.

  Talking Through Walls (Humanitarian - 56:46)
Directed by: Stephanie Daniels

Talking Through Walls : How the Struggle to Build a Mosque United a Community, tells the story of Zia Rahman, a retired engineer and devout Muslim American who prepared to go before the Zoning Board in his hometown of Voorhees, New Jersey, in hopes of creating a mosque in his comminuty. What Rahman didn't expect was the hostility and fierce pushback he received from his neighbors.
In a world fraught with religious intolerance, Talking Through Walls is the inspirational story of how interfaith leaders in Southern Jersey figured out a way to keep the peace and show the rest of the world what can be accomplished by the power of compromise and tolerance.
Caravan of Light (Humanitarian - 16:05)
Directed by: Sahar Farmanfarmaian
Canada and USA

Caravan of Light: Initiation is a short film with a message, an incantation, a prayer, a word of caution. A work of art envisioned to help humanity in a time of global uncertainty.
  Laya Project (Humanitarian)
Directed by: Harold Mofils

The Laya Project is based on regional folk music traditions, recorded and brought back to the studio to create a composition that mixes and enhances the original recordings, and embarks on a musical journey crossing borders, while preserving the music of the people.
The Laya Project is a personal and collective tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and is dedicated to the survivors of the 26th December 2004 Asian tsunami.
Narrative Short
The Heart Spoke (narrative short - 22:00)
Directed by: Hadrien Don Fayel

For the first thirty years of his life Jean Touzet explored various artistic fields, being alternately an actor with Jean Vilar, a pianist, a conductor, etc.
When he was offered to give life to the Cannes Festival, he dealt with all the administrative issues in an artistic way. It is most likely thanks to that that he succeeded in making the Cannes Festival an outstanding event, an "original creation".

Man of the Family (narrative short - 13:00)
Directed by: Laura Turek

A little boy immigrates with his Mother to Montreal where he is confronted with a lot more than just a new culture.

Sanjit is the new kid. He's only been in Montreal for a few months and he is already in trouble for fighting at school. As he waits outside the Principal's office he replays the events that led up to his current predicament. Is his uncle going to be proud of him or not?

  Last Class (narrative short - 10:00)
Directed by: Rouhollah Masroor

A group of rambunctious schoolboys get more than they bargained for when an innocent prank goes too far.
run from a year of attacks, and provide graphic evidence of the destruction and human cost.
String Phone (narrative short - 5:30)
Directed by: Kazuhito Nakae

''Nico'' has a boyfriend who has moved abroad whom she can hardly get in touch with through the telephone. Each time she calls him there is no answer.
Until Nico stumbles upon the "string phone" at the old antique shop. She buys it as a last hope for an international call to her boyfriend. She calls him again and again...
  Hose (animation - 13:00)
Directed by: Kevin Watkins

An inquisitive garden hose in search of adventure discovers that the grass isn't greener on the other side - in fact there isn't even any grass...
Toumai (animation - 4:12)
Directed by: Carlos Stevens

The earth was a vastly different place before Man was born. Toumai is the story of Mankinds destructive battle against nature in his attempt to build the ultimate machine. This machine is the culmination of Mankind's greatest creations and most horrific inventions. In the end, Mankind's delinquency ultimately leads to his demise as his machine sends him to a watery grave.
One Day (animation - 3:00)
Directed by: Hyun Joo Cho

A little family enjoys their usual afternoon walk in fall. Nostalgic memories of love and sweetness begin to flow.
Snap Shot (student - 8:37)
Directed by: Suel Kim

A police officer racially profiles a photographer, threatening the safety of his community and his own child...or so he thinks.
Flight Lessons (student - 1:20)
Directed by: Neil Helm

An airline captain and aviation enthusiast relates to an unexpected audience the wonder and intricacy of modern jet aviation. An experienced professional, the pilot's confident and reserved disposition eventually makes way for a display of youthful exuberance. Set in a large open hanger at a small airport, the characters interact among aircraft from aviation history. As the captain concludes his description of such a highly technical device, his audience is finally revealed to the viewer.
Script Winner In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing, Felice Neals,
In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing, begins in Tanzania where Marcus and Cat are on vacation. They take a tour in a small village and befriend Tulizo, the local tour guide. Cat wakes up the next day in their hotel and finds Marcus has disappeared. Distraught and confused she returns to New York, only to discover that he has been in the witness protection program as a result of testimony he provided re; his involvement in the money laundering business. Marcus is seen in flashback as we discover the events leading to his disappearance. As Cat tries to put the pieces together, she is stalked by the dirty cop who believes she might know where Marcus is hiding. Going back and forth between New York and Tanzania, we see Tulizo, inspired by meeting Cat and Marcus, attempt to fulfill his dream to see New York. As the film progresses, Cat tries to cope with what she has discovered about Marcus while he remains in hiding.
Honorary Mentions

Henry O!
Directed by: Ziad Hamzeh

HENRY O! is a journey of humble beginnings and overwhelming obstacles, of faith in the human spirit and endless love of life and family, of sky-high dreams and aspirations achieved, all amidst the cheering crowds and major league heroes of America's favorite past-time, baseball.

Marathon Beirut, for the Love of Lebanon
Directed by: Deborah Harse

In the aftermath of the 2006 Israel Lebanon War, the Beirut Marathon Association chose not to cancel the event, but rather to hold it as a testament to Lebanese resilience. But just 5 days before the race, government minister, Pierre Gemayel, was assassinated. This was the 5th political assassination within two years. However, again they didn't cancel, but postponed the race by one week. Then 3 days before the rescheduled date, Hezbollah called for a rally to overthrow the government. There was concern that people would be fearful of coming out for the marathon, but it took place with 22,000 people, in solidarity, running or walking the 5 km, 10 km and 42 km races with 'For the Love of Lebanon' as the theme.

Shoot on Sight
Directed by: Gillian Caldwell

Shoot on Sight' goes undercover into Burma to show the humanitarian and human rights crisis created by the military junta's current attacks on Karen ethnic minority civilians in eastern Burma, where over 3000 villages have been destroyed, abandoned or forcibly relocated in the past decade. The human rights videographers travel with villagers on the run from a year of attacks, and provide graphic evidence of the destruction and human cost.

Ten More Good Years
Directed by: Michael Jacoby

LGBT Elders often age alone, without financial stability and at times find themselves returning to the closet. These issues are all but ignored by the government so the LGBT Community is finding ways to resolve these problems on their own. 'ten more good years' sheds light on the issues and offers hope for the future should we decide as a community to embrace everyone regardless of age.

Diane Skyhawk
Directed by: Jason Hammonds

A journey of the Native American Spirit. Diane Skyhawk is a woman in search of all that she is before she dies.

Plain & Simple
Directed by: Jose Luis Marra

What's a penguin to do? Threatened with removal from the birdhouse of a zoo run by money-grubbing Capitalists simply because he does not generate enough profits, a plain little penguin named Pauly struggles to belong and along the way, learns the true value of inner beauty. Enter the world of 'Plain and Simple,' a 'children's story come-to-life,' combining a unique mixture of animated creatures, sets, and props with real-life actors. This is one ticket you won't want to miss!

Directed by: Tyler Macey

Never before has there been a cancer documentary created for the masses that is compelling, informative, inspiring, and packed with original music and comedic elements. Introducing ThongMan and guest starring Tommy Smothers. I present to you, 'Change' a cancerous roller-coaster ride.

Alondra Smiles
Directed by: Conchita Nora Villa

Alondra has had a rough start in life, but with the love and support of her grandparents and friends she is planning to have a very special 15th birthday. Her plans seem to be coming along better than expected, that is until her spoiled cousin Tatiana has her own aspirations and is willing to ruin anyone's life to get her way.

Airplay: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radion
Directed by: Chris Fox Gilson

If you want to see how America works, look at what happened to rock radio. 'Airplay' is a story of love and war--a struggle between a handful of pioneers versus powerful business and government interests for the soul of music radio, told by the deejays and the artists they made rock stars.

The Key
Directed by: Paul Street

A love story set in a timeless society where water is a premium and people grow their own hydroponic food.

The Outlaw Emett Deemus
Directed by: Stephan Spak-Fleet

Motorcycle Comedy. 'Don Quixote' on a motorcycle. A retired elderly gentleman (Emmett Deemus) wants to live the life of an outlaw biker. He's just bought a funky old '57 BMW motorcycle with a sidecar, '...and jumped into the wind to protect road pilgrims, fight the man, and make some news'. After picking up a lady who's car has run out of gas on a deserted country road, he tries to impress her with his 'outlaw creds' on the way to a gas station. As if calling his bluff, they're attacked by a gang of Real Outlaw Bikers -- and, with the help of The Lady, The Old Guy wins...probably.

Duke Baa
Directed by: Shu-Han Yang

Duke Baa is an 3D animation based on a quirky, arrogant goat. One day, he gets an invitation and wants to change his clothes. He grab the remote and walk to his ' magical mirror system'. He tries on clothes and switches the clothe on his body. However, the reflection in the mirror wakes up...

One! The Gary Davis Story
Directed by: Arthur Kanegis

As Danny Kaye's understudy, Garry Davis was headed for stardom until WWII intervened. Shocked at having to bomb a city full of civilians, he gave up Broadway and set out to prevent World War III. With Albert Camus, he dared to interrupt the squabbling at the UN to demand world-wide elections of a global Congress to outlaw war. 20,000 war-weary Europeans stood up with him for the rights of humanity. The very next day the UN unanimously passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With that authority, Garry staged the most audacious performance of all. He declared a government of, by and for the People of the World. He gave up US citizenship to raise his allegiance to the global level. He became the first official World Citizen. His new government issued ID's, and Passports. Nations around the globe began to stamp the world passports Thousands of refugees and detainees, incarcerated for years for lack of identity papers, obtained World Passports, and for many freedom! Garry Davis stands today for a world most people can only dream about - a world in which humanity is united. A future in which we free ourselves from war and oppression. A world in which we are: One!

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