The festival includes over 220 films with a line-up of 23 world, 6 international, 37 Middle East, and 21 Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) premieres.
Several Egyptian films are among the selection at this year’s DIFF. These include Mohamed Diab's 678, which explores incidents of sexual harassment in Cairo, Hesham Issawi's El Khoroug (Cairo Exit) about a pair of star-crossed lovers, Ahmed Abdalla’s Microphone, which delves into the underground art scene in Alexandria and Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui’s Zelal, a documentary investigating the lack of healthcare in Egyptian mental institutions.
Other films include Zeina Sfeir's Beirut Al Mouss (All About My Father), Abdulla Al Kaabi's The Philosopher, Feng Xiaogang's Tang Shan Da Di Zheng, George Sachem’s Rsassa Taycheh (Stray Bullet), Daniel Rudi Haryanto's Prison and Paradise and Mahmoud Al Massad's This is my picture when I was dead.
The American actor Sean Penn was to be honoured at the opening ceremony of the festival, but apologised at the last minute due to the political upheaval in Haiti following the recent elections. Penn, co-founder of the Haitian Relief Organisation, has flown to Haiti to check on his staff and camp.