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Record Number Of World Premieres From The Arab World At ADFF

Special Programme Featuring Debut Films By Iconic Arab Filmmakers.
Merzak Allouache To Receive Variety Middle East Filmmaker Of The Year Award.

A record number of Arab films will have their World Premiere at the seventh Abu Dhabi Film Festival. In all competitive sections of the Festival Arab produced films will compete against the best new films from around the world. In addition, audiences can look forward to a Special Programme dedicated to renowned Arab filmmakers which revisits the debut features of nine great directors.

Ali Al Jabri, director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, says: “At ADFF we make a point of having Arab cinema compete head-to-head with international films. This is why we show Arab films alongside international productions in the main competitions. As well as bringing the best of world cinema to the UAE, it’s our mission to show the world the best of Arab cinema. This is arguably the best year yet. Due to the work of several funding institutions in the region like SANAD, projects have had a workable industry budget and a long, carefully planned preparation period which has allowed film makers to fully develop their ideas.”

Two World Premieres of Arab produced films feature in the SHOWCASE section of the Festival. ADFF is proud to host of the premiere of the long-awaited UAE production Djinn, directed by American Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974), which was produced by Abu Dhabi-based company ImageNation. For the World Premiere of Peace After Marriage by Ghazi Albulivi and Bandar Albuliwi, ADFF is excited to welcome back acclaimed actress Hiam Abbass, who will also receive a Black Pearl Career Achievement Award at the Festival for her outstanding body of work.

The Documentary Feature Competition includes four Arab films, all of them World Premieres: Hanging Dates Under Aleppo’s Citadel directed by Mohammad Soueid from Lebanon, Cairo Drive by Egyptian Director Sherief Elkatsha, El Gort (Jamal al-barrouta) directed by Hamza Ouni from Tunisia and Whispers Of The Cities (Hams al-mudan) by Iraqi director Kasim Abid.

The New Horizons Competition includes the World Premiere of Villa 69, the debut feature from Egyptian director Ayten Amin, which was supported by SANAD. Iraqi-Kurdish director Hisham Zaman returns to ADFF with Before Snowfall. Like Ayten Amin, Zaman has previously competed in the Short Film Competition at ADFF and won the Black Pearl Award with Bawke in 2007. Other Arab produced films in New Horizons are Giraffada, directed by Palestinian Rani Massalha, which premiered in Toronto this year, along with the noir drama Bastardo by Tunisian director Nejib Belkadhi. Abu Dhabi is the first audience to see Bastardo since its World Premiere in Toronto.

In the Narrative Feature Competition, four out of 15 productions originate in the Middle East, among them Hiner Saleem’s My Sweet Pepper Land, which, after receiving SANAD funding, screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes earlier this year, and Rags And Tatters by Egyptian Ahmad Abdallah which premiered in Toronto last month. Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, who won the Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award in 2010, presents his new feature In The Sands Of Babylon as a World Premiere in Abu Dhabi.

Also in the Narrative Competition, Algerian Merzak Allouache shows The Rooftops, the only Arab film to screen in international competition this year at the Venice Film Festival. Merzak Allouache is this year’s recipient of the Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award. He is considered one of Algeria’s most important living directors. In addition to the Middle East Premiere of The Rooftops, the Festival will also screen his debut feature Omar Gatlato (1974) as part of this year’s Special Programme “Debut Films by Arab Filmmakers”.  The first films of nine iconic Arab filmmakers will be screened as part of programme, including Radwan El Kashef’s Date Wine, Le Grand Voyage by Ismael Ferroukhi, Férid Boughedir’s Halfaouine: Boy Of The Terraces, West Beirut by Ziad Doueiri and Mufida Tlatli’s The Silences Of The Palace.

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival opens on October 24 2013 and ends on November 2.

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