ADFF Day 5: ADFF presents World Premieres of "Cairo Drive" and "In the Sands of Babylon"
Director Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, named Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year at ADFF in 2010, returns to Abu Dhabi with the World Premiere of his new film, In the Sands of Babylon. The film, which received SANAD funding, screens as part of the Narrative Competition at 9pm.
In the Sands of Babylon tells the story of an Iraqi soldier who is captured as the army retreats in 1991, accused of being a traitor and cast into the infamous prisons. The film’s stars, Jabbar Abbood, Abdulraheem Al-Fatlawi, and Hasan Al-Daradji will join Al Daradji on the red carpet, along with the film’s producers.
A second Arab film has its World Premiere today, when the Egyptian film Cairo Drive screens in the Documentary Competition. Director Sherief Elkatsha filmed CAIRO DRIVE over a period of three years with one goal in mind: capturing the true nature of the city he loves. The film depicts the people before, during, and after the famous revolution that took place in Tahrir Square. One of the film’s subjects, Amira Ghazalla, will join Elkatsha at the screening.
Elkatsha raised the funds for Cairo Drive through crowd-sourcing: asking the general public to donate funds. This process has become easier for MENA region filmmakers, with the launch of Afllamnah, the region’s first crowd-funding platform. At 10.30am our ADFF TALKS FILM workshop on how to make the most of this development in film funding offers filmmakers a chance to give their ambitions a boost.
The AFLAMNAH WORKSHOP heads up a day full of interesting master-classes. At midday, join Destin Daniel Cretton, director of Short Term 12, for JUMP CUT, a seminar on how to make the transition from short films to features. Cretton’s debut feature I AM NOT A HIPSTER premiered at Sundance in 2012.
At 2.30pm HEROINES OF THE SILVER SCREEN: THE ROAD TO SUCCESS gives audiences the opportunity to hear from extraordinary women from different sectors of the industry discussing how they broke into this male-dominated industry. The panel includes directors Nahid Persson Sarvestani and Aparna Sen, as well as actress Hiam Abbass.
The last session in ADFF TALKS FILM today, at 4.30pm, is DIASPORA AND THE RENAISSANCE OF IRAQI CINEMA, a panel discussion that looks at what drives filmmakers to return to their homeland to document its stories. The panellists include Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, one of the filmmakers who has been instrumental in the revival of Iraqi cinema, as well as directors Kasim Abed and Oday Rasheed.
Two sessions of screenings for the Short Film Competition screen today. Highlights to look forward to in today’s programs include Montblanc, a Belgian/Dutch film about of a father-son pilgrimage to see Mont Blanc one last time; Agri and the Mountain, a film about life in the mountains of Turkey, told through the eyes of a young child, and The Wound, a Russian animation about a girl whose emotional wound takes over her life.
Don’t miss the chance to see the celebrated Tunisian film The Silences of the Palace on the cinema screen once again. The 1994 Camera D’or Winner at Cannes tells the story of Alia, a 25-year-old woman, who returns to her place of birth—a prince's palace in which her mother worked as kitchen hand and mistress. The film launched the career of Hend Sabri, who starred as young Alia in the film. We’re pleased to announce that Hend Sabri and director Mofida Tlatli will be present at the screening.
Other films with filmmakers present today include Bastardo, about a downtrodden orphan who takes on the thugs who control his ghetto. Director Nejib Belkadhi, actor Abdel Monaam Chouayat and producer Imed Marzouk will present the film, which screens in New Horizons. Competing for the prize is Still Life by Italian director Uberto Pasolini, the story of a social worker who is determined to make sure that those who die alone are laid to rest with dignity.
The Showcase section includes a film by Nagraj Manjule, one of the most significant and well-known Marathi poets of the last decade. Fandry is an indictment of India’s caste system, focussing on Jabya, an “untouchable” who struggles to reconcile his status with his dreams. Nagraj Manjule will attend the screening with his producer Vivek Kajaria. In Documentary Competition’s entry My Stolen Revolution, filmmaker Nahid Persson Sarvestani documents her search for friends she abandoned when she fled Iran after the 1979 revolution. Nahid Persson Sarvestani will be present for a Q&A after the screening.
Also from India, part of our Special Program CELEBRATING INDIAN CINEMA, comes The Catastrophe, Jahnu Barua’s 1987 film about a hard-working farmer who is thrown into crisis when he discovers he does not hold title to the plot of land that sustains his family. Barua, one of the pioneers of Assamese Art cinema, will attend the screening.