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Leading Talents of Arab Cinema to Shine at Opening of ADFF 2011

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) today announced a host of film talents expected to make an appearance on the red carpet at Opening Night this evening. Some of the leading figures of Gulf and Arab cinema are in Abu Dhabi to attend the glittering event, which will be screened at the Festival's brand new waterfront cinema, located on the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr's beach.

The opening film is Philippe Falardeau's internationally celebrated Monsieur Lazhar, recently confirmed as Canada's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Oscars™, with both Falardeau and producer Luc Dery in attendance.

Among the talents coming to Opening Night are Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Khaled Abol Naga, Faris Alhilo, Bushra, Sami Kaftan and Maher Salibi.

Some of the prominent members of the Festival's juries will also take to the red carpet, including Egyptian actress Laila Eloui, Iranian screen legend Fatemeh Simin Motamed-Arya, American actress, model and athlete Aimee Mullins and French actress Marianne Denicourt. Also among the night's prominent guests is celebrated Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako (Life on Earth, Bamako), one of the principal voices of world cinema and president of this Festival's jury in 2008, who is holding a master class at the Festival on Saturday, October 15, 11:30 a.m. at the Fairmont Saker Ballroom A.

A list of talents from the Gulf countries is led by Huda Al Khatib Janah, Dr. Habib Ghuloom, Haifa Hussein and Mohammed Al Mansour and also includes Haya Abdelsalam, Ali Al Ali, Moza Almazrouei, Khaled Ameen, Tarek Al Ali, Abdullah Boushahri, Mahmoud Boushahri, Ibrahim Al Hasawi, Ahmad Iraj, Ahmad Al Jasmi, Zyna Karam, Abdel Mohsen Nemer and Ghanem Al Sulaiti.

"The Emirates Film Competition and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival joined forces last year in order to strengthen the ties between the Festival and the Gulf film scene, and to project the Festival's efforts into the region. This year, we celebrate the EFC's tenth anniversary and we are delighted that the Festival has embraced the soul of Gulf filmmaking through our cooperation," said Ali Al Jabri, Director & Programmer, Emirates Film Competition.

"Among other things, festivals like ours exist to furnish a place for the talents of the film world to gather to discuss and celebrate each other's work. Friendships are made, ideas spawned, plans hatched - and sometimes miracles happen. We are delighted that many of our guests this year are brilliant, passionate professionals - whether they are directors, writers, actors, buyers, distributors or journalists - because they are the main talents at the Festival," Peter Scarlet, ADFF's Executive Director.

"This is a Middle Eastern and Arab film festival and for Opening Night we are delighted to be welcoming a group of distinguished actors and directors from the region, including some of the best-known names from the Gulf. As always, our guest list also includes outstanding Western talents, signaling a real coming together of inspiring personalities from world cinema," Eissa Saif Rashed Al Mazrouei, Director of Special Projects for ADACH.

Tickets and full program details are now available on

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