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ADFF Hosts Awards Ceremonies for Emirates Film Competition, Short Film Competition and Variety’s Middle East Filmmaker of the Year
Tonight (October 20) the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2011 presents
two awards ceremonies ahead of the features awards night on October
21. The official Awards Ceremony for the Emirates Film
Competition (EFC) and International Short Film Competition
celebrates the best in short-filmmaking from across the region and
around the world. Taking place at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, the
event will award a total of 23 filmmakers (17 in the EFC and six in
the Short Film Competition).
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Also taking place today is a special lunchtime reception in honor
of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, Variety's
Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award 2011. Farhadi's
most recent work, A Separation, is Iran's official entry
for the 2012 Foreign Language Academy Awards and Farhadi is in Abu
Dhabi to attend its Gulf premiere at the Festival tonight. The
photo call, award ceremony and reception take place at 12:30 p.m.
at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr's Cedars Restaurant.
Farhadi's A Separation is a gripping family drama that
revolves around issues of loyalty, truth and honor. The film
celebrated a triumphant premiere at Berlin, where it was named Best
Film and its skilled ensemble cast received both the major acting
prizes - a sweep no previous Iranian film has ever earned at a
Western film festival. A Separation is screened tonight at
9:00 p.m., at VOX 5.
Day eight at the Festival begins with From Shorts to
Features, a panel discussion that brings together a group
of directors to share their experiences, offer advice for budding
filmmakers, and discuss current trends and issues facing the short
film industry. What are the challenges of making the leap from
shorts to features? What new artistic demands are placed on the
writer, director and others? These and other questions will be
addressed at this special event, taking place at the Fairmont Bab
Al Bahr's Saker Ballroom A at 11:00 a.m.
Award-winning British director Michael
Winterbottom (In This World, The Road to
Guantanamo)is in Abu Dhabi to present the Middle East
premiere of his new feature Trishna, part of the
Narrative Feature Competition lineup. This afternoon, festivalgoers
have the opportunity to join Winterbottom as he shares anecdotes
and insights into the making of Trishna at a press
conference at 1:00 p.m. at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr's Saker
With Trishna, Winterbottom brilliantly transposes the
Victorian melodrama of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, setting
the tale of a woman's naïve rise and tragic downfall amid all the
beauty and blight of contemporary India. When Trishna (Freida
Pinto), a rural Indian woman who lives with her father, and Jay,
the son of a wealthy London businessman, fall in love, they find
their bond cannot withstand the pressures of rural society as it
clashes with modern life. Trishna plays at 9:45 p.m., at
the Abu Dhabi Theater.
Tonight marks the last screening in the Festival's popular
new series of Waterfront Films, shown outdoors on a giant
screen on the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr's beach. Capping off the program
is revered Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti's new film Habemus
Papam! Preceding the feature is The Wholly Family, a
riveting short film set in Naples, directed by former Monty Python
Terry Gilliam. This screening takes place at the Fairmont Bab Al
Bahr's beach at 7:30 p.m.
Elena, by acclaimed Russian
director Andrey Zvyagintsev, is also part of the Narrative
Feature Competition. Elena, second wife of the wealthy Vladimir,
finds herself facing a difficult choice when she realizes she may
be left with nothing as her husband reconnects with his disaffected
daughter as he recovers from a heart attack. Outstanding
performances and masterful direction make this unsettling family
drama one of the most critically lauded films of the year.
Elena is screened at 6:15 p.m. at the Abu Dhabi Theatre,
followed by a Q&A session.
The Documentary Feature Competition continues today with a
screening of Gemma Atwal's Marathon Boy,
a shocking saga of greed, corruption, exploitation and political
conspiracy that revolves around an unlikely little subject: Budhia,
an abandoned four-year-old boy who is molded into a champion
marathon runner by his foster father, Biranchi Das. Marathon
Boy plays at 9:30 p.m., VOX 4, followed by a Q&A session
with the director.
This Narrow Place, by Sooney
Kadouh, is one of 12 films competing in this year's New
Horizons Competition for first and second narrative features. In
this sharply observant, confidently stylized debut, Hasan, a young
Palestinian man, smuggles himself to the U.S. to obtain bomb parts
for a terrorist plot back home. Screening at 6:45 p.m., VOX 4,
followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker.
Pedro Pérez Rosado's film Tears of Sand
tells the story of Fatimetu, who - after 16 years in Spain -
returns home to Samara in the Western Sahara, following her
mother's funeral. Here she reunites with her brother and sister,
who requires special care. Reluctantly, Fatimetu becomes her
sister's caregiver, inspiring a family separated by different
cultures to adapt and rediscover their identities. Tears of
Sand is shown at 9:30 p.m., VOX 8, followed by a Q&A
Today, the Our World Competition presents Eco Pirate:
The Story of Paul Watson, Trish Dolman's personal portrait of
the bad boy of the environmental movement, who co-founded
Greenpeace and then split when he thought they had gone soft. Now
stalking the oceans in a raven-black titanium pirate ship waiting
to ram whaling vessels and with his own cable TV show (Whale
Wars), Watson is a rebel on a mission to save the oceans.
Eco Pirate is screened tonight at 6:15 p.m., VOX 3,
followed by a Q&A session.
The Festival's retrospective program Naguib Mahfouz - Man
of Cinema features a special screening of the Mexican
remake of one of Mahfouz's early masterpieces. The Beginning
and the End, by Arturo Ripstein, tells the story of the Botero
family, who find themselves facing poverty and the near
impossibility of maintaining bourgeois respectability after the
death of the paterfamilias. Ripstein seamlessly substitutes Mexico
City for Cairo, removing the politics and inserting Freud and an
operatic emphasis on the inexorability of fate. The Beginning
and the End plays at 9:00 p.m., VOX 3.
The day's screenings also include two titles from the Showcase
section, which highlights films that were celebrated at festivals
around the world. One of them is directing legend Martin
Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material
World. Scorsese recounts the artist's journey, from
the whirlwind of rock stardom to the quest for meaningful
spirituality, through an incredible cache of never-before-seen
footage and unreleased songs as well as emotionally charged
interviews with intimates like Harrison's wife Olivia, Paul
McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector, Eric Idle and Terry
Gilliam. Screening at 7:30 p.m., VOX 1.
You might not expect "Wim Wenders" and "3-D" to appear in the same
sentence, but in his most recent work
Pina the revered German director uses the
multidimensional format to pay stunning tribute to the late Pina
Bausch, the most innovative choreographer in modern dance.
Germany's pick for the 2012 Foreign Language
Oscars™ is both a eulogy to a formidable genius and a
timeless tribute to the ecstatic power of dance. 7:30 p.m., VOX