Dubai International Film Festival 2017: 5 things you might have missed

(CNN)The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) doesn't have to work hard these days to attract A-list talent. In its 14th year, Cate Blanchett chaired one of the juries, Irrfan Khan was honored, while for the second year in a row the festival hosted a "Star Wars" premiere.

Straddling regional excellence and western blockbusters, the line-up had something for everyone. And for industry figures, the film market bubbled with promises of future prosperity.
Closing on December 13, the awards have now been doled out and the red carpet rolled up. So what were the main takeaways and talking points from this year's festival?

Patrick Stewart wants in on Tarantino's "Star Trek" movie

    Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and director Quentin Tarantino.
    Team Picard fans rejoice -- if Quentin Tarantino's "Star Trek" pitch gains traction, Patrick Stewart says he's game.
    The actor, who played Starfleet captain Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" between 1987 and 1994, and starred in four spin-off movies, is more than curious as to what the master of foul-mouthed genre flicks might do with the "Star Trek" franchise.
    Tarantino has pitched a "Star Trek" movie to Paramount and director, producer and serial series re-booter J.J. Abrams according to Deadline, who claim in a follow-up article that the idea has already been kicked around a writer's room.
    Reacting to the news at DIFF, where he was receiving an honorary award, Stewart told The Hollywood Reporter there was a Tarantino-shaped hole in his life.
    "One of my dreams is to work with Tarantino," he said. "I admire his work so much, and to be in a Tarantino film would give me so much satisfaction. So, if he is going to direct something to do with 'Star Trek' and there was the possibility of dear old Jean-Luc showing up again and doing that for Mr Tarantino, I would embrace it."

    Saudi Arabia's plan to open cinemas was the talk of the festival...

    Director Hajar Alnaim was one of a number of Saudi filmmakers screening projects at DIFF 2017.
    Saudi filmmakers at the festival had cause for celebration when it was announced on December 11 that from early 2018, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and Information would be granting licenses for commercial movie theaters.
    The decision means Saudis will be able to go to the movies in their home country for the first time in more than 35 years. The move comes as the conservative Arab nation rolls out Vision 2030, its plan for a post-oil economy, with the Ministry saying it plans for 300 cinemas and 2,000 screens by then.

    ...And Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour won $100,000

    Director Haifaa Al-Mansour.
    Al-Mansour, the director behind "Wadjda" (2013), Saudi Arabia's first feature film and the country's first to be submitted -- and nominated -- for an Oscar, screened her latest movie "Mary Shelley" at DIFF.
    Starring Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth, it was received positively, but it's Al-Mansour's next project that drew more attention. Family-friendly stop-motion animation "Miss Camel" tells the story of a camel traveling from Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi, and won over the IWC Filmmakers jury, headed up by actress Cate Blanchett. The $100,000 prize, for projects in development from the Gulf, should help push the film through production, Al-Mansour telling The National she expects it to be completed by 2020.

    The "Star Wars" circus rolled into town

    John Boyega stars as Finn in "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi."
    Just in case you weren't aware, there's a new "Star Wars" film coming out. "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi" landed on the DIFF red carpet on December 13 as the festival's closing night gala, drawing a legion of fans, many in costume.
    Among those in attendance was actor Garrick Hagon, who played fan-favorite and Luke Skywalker's oldest pal Biggs Darklighter in the original "Star Wars" from 1977.
    Looking at the box office, the UAE is a big fan of the franchise. The last chapter of the space opera, 2015's "The Force Awakens," shot scenes in the sand dunes of Abu Dhabi and grossed over $6 million in the Emirates according to Box Office Mojo.

    "Wajib" takes top prize

    "Wajib" scooped top prize at DIFF 2017.
    As many predicted, Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir's "Wajib" won best fiction feature at the festival.
    The Nazareth-set drama focuses in on the reconciliation between a father and son in the lead up to a family wedding. Featuring real life father-son duo Mohammad and Saleh Bakri -- who jointly claimed the best actor prize -- it came to DIFF as a hot favorite, having emerged a winner from the Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland in August.
    The film, competing the Arab cinema strand, is in the running for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Academy Awards. "Wajib" is jostling for a place on a shortlist of nine features; a list whittled down to five when the nominations are announced on January 23.