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Film Festival Essentials: What’s on Thursday October 18

Glamour will be the word of the day when screen legend Claudia Cardinale graces the red carpet for the gala screening of veteran Director Manoel de Oliveira's latest film and Black Pearl Awards are awarded to the entrants in the Emirates Film Competition and International Short Film Competition tonight.

Born in Tunisia to Italian parents, Claudia Cardinale is acclaimed internationally, a true legend of the silver screen. She first appeared in Goha (1958) and has appeared in more than 100 films, working with some of the greatest filmmakers of our time. She will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award on 19 October but tonight joins us for the gala red carpet screening of Gebo And The Shadow, an entrant in the Narrative Competition.

Amongst the other filmmakers attending the screening is a surprise guest, Benh Zeitlin, whose film Beasts of the Southern Wild is taking the world by storm. Photographers and film crews must be ready by 18:00 for photo opportunities.

Press are welcome to attend and film the Black Pearl Awards Ceremony at Emirates Palace at 21:00 tonight. The ceremony will be a glamorous affair, attended by delegations from the competing films and the juries for both competitions.

There will be a big turn-out for the screening of Coming Forth By Day, the narrative feature debut by award-winning Egyptian Director Hala Lofty. The film, which screens in the New Horizons competition, received funding from SANAD. Hala Lofty will be joined at the screening by the film's stars Donia Maher and Salma Al Nagger, as well as a number of key members of the production crew.

Other on-screen highlights today include the Narrative competition film In the House by François Ozon. The film won the FIPRESCI prize at Toronto last month. The young star, Ernst Umhauer, joins us for the screening, along with his co-star Denis Ménochet, who plays the patriarch of the family the boy invades.

Two Showcase films screen today. Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry is about one of China's most famous contemporary artists. Director Alison Klayman first met the artist in 2008 and followed him through his detention and release by Chinese authorities in 2011. She will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A afterwards which is bound to be fascinating.

Also screening in Showcase is Flight, the new Denzel Washington film in which he plays a hero pilot who is discovered to have been drinking on the job. The film's Producers, Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald will attend the film.

In the Documentary competition, Meanwhile In Mamelodi looks at how little impact the 2010 FIFA World Cup had on the lives of people living in townships a stone's throw from the hype. Director Benjamin Kahlmeyer and Producer Boris Frank will attend the screening.

Media representatives have the opportunity to conduct interviews with delegations from several films.  Please check the press schedule for details.

This is the first year the Abu Dhabi Film Festival has been presented under the management of TwoFour54, as part of the plan to strategically align the festival alongside Abu Dhabi's other media initiatives and related events, reinforcing Abu Dhabi as the creative hub for the region supporting film production.

Contact thePress Team