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ADFF Presents Master Class with Todd Solondz and Roundtable on Filmmaking in the Arab Spring
Today (Monday, October 17, 2011), the Abu Dhabi Film Festival
presents a highly anticipated Master Class with Todd
Solondz, the multi-award winning American filmmaker noted
for character-driven, dark comedies such as Welcome to the
Dollhouse (1996), Happiness (1998) and Life
During Wartime (2009). Solondz continues to write and direct
edgy, provocative independent films and presented his most recent
feature, Dark Horse, at the Festival last night (October
16). This special event takes place at 11:00 a.m. at the Fairmont
Bab Al Bahr's Saker Ballroom A.
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This afternoon, the Festival also invites the public to join a
panel discussion about The Arab Spring and its Effects on
Filmmaking. Acclaimed filmmakers from the Middle East and
North Africa will gather to discuss how regional cinema has
responded to the recent wave of political and social upheaval. Have
rules of production changed? Are we to expect a new artistic
paradigm? This event is held at 2:30 p.m., at the Fairmont Bab Al
Bahr's Saker Ballroom A.
Last night (Sunday, October 16), the Abu Dhabi Film
Festival inaugurated the newly launched Black Pearl Rising Star
Award, which will from now on be presented each year to
young actors who have given proof of their talent and can be
considered major emerging talents on the international cinema
The 2011 Black Pearl Rising Star Award went to the three young
protagonists of Mary Harron's The Moth Diaries. Sarah
Bolger (Rebecca) first appeared on film in Spiderwick
Chronicles, and played Queen Mary in the TV-series, The
Tudors. Lily Cole (Ernessa) is combining a successful acting
career with that of a top model. She made her screen debut in Terry
Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Sarah Gadon
(Lucie) also appears in another Festival selection, A Dangerous
Method, under David Cronenberg's direction and has a major
role in the Canadian master's next film, Cosmopolis.The
award was presented by Egypt's Khaled Abol Naga, the multi-talented
actor-producer-journalist, ahead of a Gala Screening of The
Moth Diaries at the Abu Dhabi Theater last night.
Tonight's red carpet event is the world premiere of
Asma'a, the long-awaited second feature by
Egyptian filmmaker Amr Salama. The director will be accompanied on
the red carpet by producers Mohamed Hefzy and Bushra along with
members of the cast including Maged El Kedwani and Hend Sabry.
Asma'a (Sabry) is a struggling single mother with a secret. In a
world where HIV/AIDS is still stigmatized, it takes the fateful
intervention of TV show host Mohsen (El Kedwany), to teach Asma'a
to speak out and fight back - both against her illness and against
the ignorance of society. 6:30 p.m., Abu Dhabi Theater.
A Dangerous Method, the new
feature by David Cronenberg (The Fly, A
History of Violence, Eastern Promises), is also
screened tonight at the Abu Dhabi Theater. Under the guise of a
period piece, A Dangerous Method somewhat cheekily looks
at how the Freudian schism between the selfish and the social
informs an affair between psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael
Fassbender) and his patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) -
while Freud himself (Viggo Mortensen) looks on. Screening at 9:30
p.m., Abu Dhabi Theater.
One of the contenders in the Narrative Feature
Competition, On the Edge chronicles the lives of
two girls from Casablanca, who spend their days in a dreary factory
in Old Tangier, dreaming of brighter prospects. Their lives take a
new turn when they team up with two textile workers from the Free
Zone for a dodgy money-making scheme. On the Edge was
supported by the Festival's SANAD fund and won awards at the
Taormina Film Festival for best film, best director and best
ensemble cast. 7:00 p.m., VOX 6.
The Documentary Competition, meanwhile, presents
the international premiere of Girl Model,
a provocative documentary about a dark, seldom-seen segment of the
modeling industry seen from two opposite angles: that of a
professional scout, eager to recruit the youngest girls possible,
and that of a naive 13-year-old from Siberia, to whom modeling
seems like a great way to support her poor family. 6:30 p.m., VOX
From 1967 to 1975, a group of Swedish journalists traveled to the
United States to report on the burgeoning Black Power movement, but
the footage they captured remained locked away for 30 years. Now
this rich collection of 16mm film has been unearthed and assembled
with present-day interviews featuring artists and activists.
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is
screened at 9:00 p.m., VOX 4 and will be followed by a Q&A with
its director Göran Hugo Olsson.
This year the Showcase selection brings the international
premiere of Bobby Fischer Against the World to
Abu Dhabi. Unearthing a treasure trove of archive material, Academy
Award®-nominated director Liz Garbus presents a captivating
portrait of the world's greatest chess player, whose talent is
often overshadowed by his sensational legacy. Fischer's journey -
from child prodigy to global superstar and finally to bitter
recluse - is a walk along the tightrope between genius and madness.
9:30 p.m., VOX 2.
The Festival's retrospective Mahfouz - Man of
Cinema continues today with a special screening of The
Hunger (1986), which uses Egypt's fabled past as a handy cover
for sharp critiques of contemporary dictatorships. Set in the 19th
century, the plot centers on a weak-willed man, who comes to embody
the corrupting nature of power after accidentally killing a local
gangster, drawing unmistakable parallels to Egypt under more modern
strongmen. 9:15 p.m., VOX 3.
To discover some of the exciting new work created by up-and-coming
filmmakers from the Gulf region, don't miss today's program from
the 2011 Emirates Film Competition. EFC 5 Short
Documentaries 2 is screened at 6:15 p.m. at Vox 2.