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Abu Dhabi Film Festival to Showcase Best of Arab Cinema

Seven world premieres of Arab films in Feature Competitions
Arab films to participate in all competitions alongside international titles

 Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) 2014, powered by twofour54, will feature seven world premieres of Arab films as part of its showcase of best-in-class Arab and international cinema.

Arab films will be presented alongside international titles in Narrative, New Horizons, Documentary and Short Film competition categories during the event, which takes place from October 23 - November 1, 2014 at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

Now in its eighth year, the festival will also host a special programme called “The Arab Diaspora” and the Emirates Film Competition (EFC), which will exclusively showcase productions by Khaleeji filmmakers.

Ali Al Jabri, Director of ADFF, said: “At ADFF, we provide a platform for Arab films to compete alongside international films – a reason why the main competition segments evaluate Arab films and international productions on the same criteria. This focus comes out of our commitment of bringing the best of world cinema to the UAE while projecting the best of Arab cinema to the world.

“With the proliferation of funding institutions in the region such as ADFF’s development and post-production fund SANAD, Enjazz, Doha Film Institute Grants Programme and AFAC, projects have been successful in attracting adequate funding and resources to fully develop their ideas from concept to celluloid.”

The Narrative Competition will present five Arabic films. EL OTT, a SANAD supported co-production between Egypt and the UAE, will make its world premiere during the festival. Directed by Ibrahim Elbatout, it is centred around an Egyptian gangster and set in the organ traffic milieu.

Other SANAD supported films featured in the Narrative Competition are FEVERS by Hicham Ayouch (Morocco, France, UAE, Qatar) and THE VALLEY, by Lebanese director Ghassan Salhab. THE VALLEY is a co-production between Lebanon, France, Germany, Qatar and the UAE and recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Additionally in this category, Mauritanian Director, Abderrahmane Sissako, will present his latest film TIMBUKTU, which was co-produced with France and Qatar. The fifth Arab film to be featured in the competition is the Iraqi-German co-production MEMORIES ON STONE by Shawkat Amin-Korki.

The New Horizons Competition, with a total of four Arabic productions, will feature the world premiere of FROM A TO B by Emirati Director Ali Mostafa’s, which will open this year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival. This section will also host the world premiere of Iraqi production SHEPHERD’S SILENCE by Raad Mushatat.

SANAD supported title THEEB by Jordanian Director Naji Abu Nowar is also among the selected films. It recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the Orizzonti Award for Best Director. Also being screened in this section is THE MAN FROM ORAN by French-Algerian director Lyès Salem as international premiere.

In the Documentary Competition, seven out of 17 titles are Arab produced films. This section will feature four world premieres: UM GHAYEB by Nadine Slaib (Egypt, UAE), QUEENS OF SYRIA by Yasmin Fedda (Lebanon, Jordan, UK, UAE), PIRATES OF SALÈ by Merieme Addou and Rosa Rogers (Morocco, United Kingdom, France, UAE), and Emirati production SOUNDS OF THE SEA by Nujoom Al Ghanem. All four films have received support by SANAD.

Also participating in the Documentary Competition is the winner of this year’s Sundance Festival, the Syrian-German co-production RETURN TO HOMS by director Talal Derki. The line-up includes IRAQI ODYSSEY, the latest film by Swiss-Iraqi director Samir, as well as THE WANTED 18 by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan, which has been showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival 2014 and now celebrates its international premiere in Abu Dhabi.

Notably, this year’s ADFF will host an entire programme dedicated to Arab directors who migrated from their homelands and speak of their heritage and culture through the expressive art of film. Within this framework called THE ARAB DIASPORA, programmed by Intishal Al Timimi, the Festival unites nine long feature films and three short films, among them Swedish-Lebanese director Josef Fares’ JALLA! JALLA! (2000), INCH’ALLAH DIMANCHE by Algerian-French director Yamina Benguigui (2001), THE POLISH BRIDE by Algerian-Dutch director Karim Traidia (1998) and SALUT COUSIN! by Algerian-French director Merzak Allouache (1996).

The special programme will also feature MAROCK by Moroccan-French director Laila Marrakchi (2005), SEEDS OF DOUBT by Egyptian-German director Samir Nasr (2005), HEREMAKONO by Mauritanian Abderrahmane Sissako (2002), A NEW DAY IN OLD SANA’A by Yemeni-British director Bader Ben Hirsi (2005) and DÈLICE PALOMA by Algerian-French director Nadir Moknèche (2007).                                    

The Showcase section includes the World Premiere of Emirati documentary feature AS ONE: THE AUTISM PROJECT, which focuses on a unique theatrical programme for children on the autism spectrum.

Another seven Arab films will be featured in the Short Film Competition, three of them as world premieres, one as international premiere. Additionally, the Emirates Film Competition will welcome 52 films from the Gulf region this year. The programme includes 45 world premieres.

ADFF was established in 2007 to create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. A key event in Abu Dhabi’s cultural calendar, ADFF features an extensive 10-day programme of Arab and international cinema, complemented by red-carpet premieres, co-production meetings and associated events.

Films compete for Black Pearl Awards in the Narrative, Documentary and New Horizons sections of ADFF’s programme.

For film images please click here

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