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Film Professionals and Directors Share Insights into Independent Filmmaking and Screenwriting at ADFF 2011
Today (October 16), festival-goers can enjoy two special events
at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), which provide unique
opportunities to get insider perspectives on different aspects of
Beyond Hollywood and Bollywood: The Future of
Independent Cinema in the Region is a panel discussion
featuring film industry decision-makers with close connections to
the region. Experts from international sales companies and regional
distributors discuss the types of films they are drawn to, their
relationships with film festivals and the decision-making process
behind deals for films in the MENA region. This special event takes
place at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr's Saker Ballroom A, at 11:00
Michael Brandt and Derek Haas are the writing team behind such
hit films as Wanted and 3:10 to Yuma. Their
latest writing collaboration and Brandt's directorial debut The
Double stars Richard Gere, Topher Grace and Martin Sheen, and
had its world premiere at the Festival last night (Saturday,
October 15). From Script to Screen: Writing and
Directing is a candid conversation with Brandt and Haas as
they discuss how they broke into the business and offer advice on
writing and directing feature films. Taking place at the Fairmont
Bab Al Bahr's Al Saker Ballroom A, 2:30 p.m.
Preparations are underway at the Abu Dhabi Theater for
tonight's red carpet Gala Screening of The Moth
Diaries, which will be attended by director Mary
Harron, actress and model Lily Cole, and actress Sarah Bolger.
Still coming to terms with the suicide of her beloved father,
Rebecca (Bolger) eagerly returns to her all-girls boarding school -
and her closest friend Lucy (Sarah Gadon). Soon, Lucy comes under
the sway of the sinister new girl, Ernessa (Cole). The Moth
Diaries is a contemporary Gothic tale that provocatively
explores the female coming-of-age experience. Begins at 9:30
Tonight Festival audiences are also treated to the Middle East
premiere of Dark Horse, the highly anticipated new
film by American indie director Todd Solondz (Welcome
to the Dollhouse, Happiness). Abe is a thirtysomething mama's
boy with little interest in anything besides his toy collection.
When he meets Miranda, he mistakes her near-comatose responses to
him as proof they're kindred spirits. A black-comic look at a
contemporary American society spinning its wheels, screening at VOX
6, at 6:30 p.m.
Today's Waterfront Film is Lucky, the
affecting story of an orphaned Zulu boy struggling to find a future
in the harsh urban landscape of Durban, with the reluctant
help of an untrusting Indian widow. Based on director Avie
Luthra's BAFTA-nominated 2005 short, it's both a spirited
coming-of-age drama and a frank portrait of contemporary South
Africa. Waterfront Films are screened at the
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr's beach, 7:30 p.m. and are free of charge.
The Festival program tonight also brings the world
premiere of South African director Timothy Greene's new
work Skeem. Greene milks plenty of madcap mayhem from this
farce about a motley collection of small-time crooks and greedy
holidaymakers at a rundown resort. Propelled by a strong ensemble
cast, Skeem gleefully runs roughshod over cultural
hang-ups and knowingly depicts a multiracial nation behaving badly.
Screening at 9:00 p.m., VOX 1.
Selected for the New Horizons Competition for
first and second feature films, Hicham Lasri's The End is
marking its international premiere tonight. In
gritty black and white, and set in Casablanca, July 1999, with
longtime monarch Hassan II on his deathbed, the film depicts an air
of uncertainty weighing on Morocco - and especially on one
marginalized young man, M'key, who discovers a dark tie between the
enchanting Rita and his surrogate father, police commissioner
Daoud. An ambitious and electrifying declaration of a new talent to
watch. The End is shown at 6:45 p.m., at VOX 4.
Also in the New Horizons competition, Lisa Aschan's debut
feature She Monkeys is distinctively wrought with haunting
rural settings and potent performances. As two 15-year-old girls
compete for a spot on the local equestrian acrobatics troupe, their
friendship twists into a rivalry that reveals dark dimensions in
their nascent personalities. This screening takes place at 9:15
p.m., VOX 4.
Today's Showcase Lineup opens with revered
Italian director Giovanni Veronesi's The Ages of Love,
starring Robert De Niro and Monica Bellucci. The Ages of
Love is the third in Veronesi's beloved Manuale
d'amore series. The film is a charming romantic comedy in
three parts, one of which centers on an American scholar (De Niro)
who finds a new lease on life with a beautiful young woman
(Bellucci) in Rome. Shown at 6:15 p.m., at the Abu Dhabi
Prof. Alessandra Priante, Cultural Attaché for the Gulf Area,
Embassy of Italy in Abu Dhabi commented on the film: "We are very
proud that this year the Abu Dhabi Film Festival has decided to
give attention to the best of Italian cinema. This is what we could
define as an Italian blockbuster with quality. Veronesi is probably
the most popular contemporary Italian director, able to depict the
elements of Italian society with excellent films and stellar
Warrior, by Gavin O'Connor, focuses on the Conlon
brothers - one a troubled ex- Marine, the other a teacher facing
financial ruin - who have been estranged from each other and their
alcoholic father for years. A big-money championship in the brutal
world of mixed martial arts offers an answer to their problems… Tom
Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte deliver unforgettable performances in
this high-intensity action drama, screening at 9:15 p.m., VOX
Today's Showcase program is rounded off by Peter Torbiörnsson's
Last Chapter - Goodbye Nicaragua. In 1984, a bomb went off
during a press conference with guerrilla leader Edén Pastora at a
rebel outpost in the Nicaragua-Costa Rica frontier. Seven died and
nearly two dozen were wounded. One survivor, Swedish journalist
Peter Torbiörnsson, finally breaks his silence 25 years later.
Last Chapter - Goodbye Nicaragua is screened at 9:30 p.m.,
The day's highlight in Documentary Competition
is The Tiniest Place, a film centered on the tiny town of
Cinquera, which was nearly wiped off the map during El Salvador's
12-year civil war. Beginning in 1979, before the war, director
Tatiana Huezo tells the remarkable story of the survivors who
returned to their town and resurrected their lives at the end of
the conflict. Shown at 6:45 p.m., VOX 8.
This afternoon, the Festival's Our World
Competition for films that raise awareness of
environmental issues presents Project Nim, the new
documentary by Oscar®- winning director James Marsh (Man on
Wire). At the heart of Project Nim is the story of a
chimpanzee who was part of a linguistics experiment in the '70s. If
taken into a family and raised as though he were a human child,
could Nim develop language? This extraordinary biopic is screened
at 6:30 p.m., at VOX 3.
A fine example of early Arab avant-garde filmmaking, Oh the
Days! (1978), by Ahmed El Maanouni, is part of this
year's selection from Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation
in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, a special program
co-organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and ArteEast.
The 1978 film tells the story of a young peasant who dreams of
breaking away from a life of poverty in the Moroccan countryside.
The first Moroccan film to screen at Cannes, Oh The Days!
is an authentic portrait of rural life, filmed with the sustained
attentiveness of a documentary. This screening takes place at 9:30
p.m. at VOX 2.
Mahfouz - Man of Cinema, the Festival's
retrospective of the seminal Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz,
continues today with a special screening of Fools' Alley,
Tawfik Saleh's debut feature, considered one of the most important
Egyptian films of the '50s. In an archetypal Egyptian neighborhood,
Taha works hard to put aside enough money to marry his beloved
Khadija, but when the necessary funds suddenly become available
there is an unexpected turn of events. Fools' Alley is
shown at 9:45 p.m., VOX 3.
The Emirates Film Competition (EFC) offers
audiences a unique opportunity to sample short films produced by
both newcomers and established filmmakers from the Gulf region.
Today's two programs focus on short narratives and are sure to open
windows on history, culture and daily life in this vibrant part of
the world. EFC 3 Student Short Narratives begins at 12:45 p.m. and
EFC 2 Short Narratives 2 starts at 6:15 p.m., both at VOX 2.
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