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Abu Dhabi Film Festival Opens Call for Entries for Its Fifth Edition

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival has opened its call for entries for the fifth edition of the festival, to be held October 13-22, 2011.  The festival accepts feature-length narrative and documentary films for a variety of competitive and non-competitive sections, as well as short narratives and documentaries to be shown in competition.

While the total of its cash prizes remains at over $1 million, ADFF's fifth edition will feature some changes in the awards in its Narrative, Documentary, Afaq Jadida (New Horizons) and Short Films competitions.The new awards structure will reinforce one of ADFF's central aims of presenting the work of international and Arab filmmakers together in competition on equal footing.  At the same time, Arab filmmakers will have a greater chance of winning awards with more prizes specifically for Arab films as well as additions to the categories for which all competing films are eligible.

Among the additions in the above competitions are awards for "Best Producer from the Arab World" and "Special Jury Awards."  The awards for producers aim to recognize and bring attention to an extremely important component of filmmaking that is still widely underappreciated in Arab cinema, the work of creative producers.  The jury awards will offer a broader palette for the festival's juries to express their views and celebrate achievements in filmmaking.

The new "Best Producer" award in the Shorts Competition also acknowledges the significance of creative and daring producers who take on the challenges of making short films.

The Afaq Jadida (New Horizons) Competition, which was launched in 2010 for first- and second-time narrative and documentary features, will also see a modification to its format.  The competition will now include only narrative films in order to make room for more fiction filmmaking from new Arab and international directors.  First- and second-time documentary filmmakers, however, will still have a place in the ADFF program with an award in the Documentary Competition for Best New Documentary Director.

ADFF's environmental section What in the World Are We Doing to Our World? will also become a competitive section with a prize of $15,000, awarded to the film that shows the best potential to broaden public awareness of environmental issues.The Emirates Film Competition for short films from the UAE and GCC countries will again present some of the Gulf's leading filmmaking talent with an array of awards aimed at helping to support the continued development of the local film industry.

Additionally, the Showcase section, a panorama of outstanding recent narrative and documentary features competing for the Audience Choice Award ($50,000), will highlight important contributions to filmmaking around the world today with screenings of some of the best examples of international cinema.

Films in the Special Programs section will include restorations and retrospectives, as well as specially curated programs and presentations focusing on exciting developments and trends in filmmaking around the world.

Abu Dhabi Film Festival Awards

Narrative Competition

• Best Narrative Film ($100,000)

• Special Jury Award ($50,000)

• Best Director from the Arab World ($50,000)

• Best Producer from the Arab World ($25,000)

• Best Actor ($20,000)

• Best Actress ($20,000)

Documentary Competition

• Best Documentary ($100,000)

• Special Jury Award ($50,000)

• Best New Director ($50,000)

• Best Director from the Arab World ($50,000)

• Best Producer from the Arab World ($25,000)

Afaq Jadida (New Horizons) Competition

• Best Film ($100,000)

• Special Jury Award ($50,000)

• Best Director from the Arab World ($50,000)

• Best Producer from the Arab World ($25,000)

• Best Actor ($20,000)

• Best Actress ($20,000)

Short Films Competition

• Best Narrative ($25,000)

• Best Documentary ($25,000)

• Best Animation ($20,000)

• Best Film from the Arab World ($25,000)

• Special Jury Award for a Narrative Short ($15,000)

• Best Producer ($10,000)• Best Producer from the Arab World ($10,000)

Emirates Film Competition

Short Narrative Competition

  •  1st Prize (30,000 AED)
  •  2nd Prize (25,000 AED)
  •  3rd Prize (20,000 AED)
  •  Special Jury Award (25,000 AED)
  •  Best Emirati Film (25,000 AED)
  •  Best Script (10,000 AED)
  •  Best Cinematography (10,000 AED)

Short Documentary Competition

  • 1st Prize (30,000 AED)
  • 2nd Prize (25,000 AED)
  • 3rd Prize (20,000 AED)
  • Special Jury Award (25,000 AED)

Student Short Narrative Competition

  • 1st Prize (20,000 AED)
  • 2nd Prize (15,000 AED)
  • 3rd Prize (10,000 AED)

Student Short Documentary Competition

  • 1st Prize (20,000 AED)
  • 2nd Prize  (15,000 AED)
  • 3rd Prize (10,000AED)

What in the World Are We Doing to Our World?

• A prize of $15,000 will be awarded to the film that shows the best potential to broaden public awareness of environmental issues.


• The Audience Choice Award ($50,000)

Submissions are now open for the fifth edition of ADFF, to be held October 13 - 22, 2011, in Abu Dhabi. Narrative and documentary features as well as short films in all genres will be accepted until July 1, 2011, when entries close.

Complete information regarding eligibility is available at

SANAD, the development and post-production fund of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, is also accepting applications for grants until July 1, 2011.

Full information is available at


The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (formerly the Middle East International Film Festival) was established in 2007, with the aim of helping to create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. Presented each October by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the event is committed to curating exceptional programs to engage and educate the local community, inspire filmmakers and nurture the growth of the regional film industry.

With its commitment to presenting works by Arab filmmakers in competition alongside those by major talents of world cinema, the Festival offers Abu Dhabi's diverse and enthusiastic audiences a means of engaging with their own and others' cultures through the art of cinema. At the same time, a strong focus on the bold new voices of Arab cinema connects with Abu Dhabi's role as a burgeoning cultural capital in the region and marks the Festival as a place for the world to discover and gauge the pulse of recent Arab filmmaking.

For questions regarding entries email or call +971 2 556 4000.

To contact the Press Office, email or call +971 2 556 4590.

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