(mi-lorenteggio.com), Abu Dhabi, sunday, October 7, 2012 – In its sixth edition, The Abu Dhabi Film Festival is again showcasing an outstanding selection of films in Arab cinema. The only Festival in the region where Arab films are screened alongside international productions in competition, the Festival has always attracted the most important Arab produced films with 2012 no exception. Some of the region’s most celebrated stars, as well as up-and-coming talent of Arab film and television are set to attend the upcoming festival from 11-20 October.
In this year’s Narrative Competition, three significant Arabic directors will be presenting their films, all World Premieres, in Abu Dhabi; Nouri Bouzid (hidden beatues; Tunisia, France, UAE), Moussa Haddad (harrga blues; Algeria) and Rachidd Benhadj (perfumes of algiers; Algeria).
In the New Horizons Competition, which concentrates on directors’ first and second features, the Festival presents Egyptian director Hala Lotfy. Her film Coming Forth by Day will celebrate its World Premiere at ADFF. the citizen by Syrian expatriate director Sam Kadi is an International Premiere, in which Egyptian star Khaled Nabawi takes his first leading role in an English-language film. Annemarie Jacir’s latest film, when i saw you will also be screened in the New Horizons Competition. Jacir recently received high acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival with this film, a co-production between Jordan, Palestine and the UAE. The Festival also presents Moroccan Mohcine Besri’s film the miscreants, which has screened at many international Festivals including Karlovy Vary.
Five films are participating in the Documentary Competition, two of which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, whilst the other three are World Premieres: cursed be the phosphate directed by Sami Tlili (Tunisia, UAE, Lebanon, Qatar), in search of oil and sand by Wael Omar and Philippe Dib (Egypt, UAE) and mohammad saved by the waters by Safaa Fathy (Egypt, France, UAE).
The Arab contribution continues in the Short Film Competition with eight Arabic films competing alongside international titles, two of which are Emirati films. The Emirates Film Competition this year features 46 films in total, comprising both narrative and documentary features and short films from the UAE and the GCC.
From its first edition, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival has always aimed to provide an important platform for emerging and established Arab filmmakers to develop their talent through exposure to international cinema and interaction with filmmakers from all over the world.
“We want the Abu Dhabi Film Festival to be the emotional home of Arabic cinema,” commented Festival Director, Ali Al Jabri. “We do this by celebrating the very best of Arabic cinema and showcasing the work of the finest talent the region has to offer while at the same time encouraging a new generation of Arab filmmakers to tell their stories in new and innovative ways. This can be seen throughout our programme, from the world premieres to regional films in the Emirates Film Competition which saw record entries this year.”
ADFF has also announced a special programme in celebration of the 50th anniversary of post-independence Algerian cinema. This selection, in association with the Algerian Agency for Cultural Outreach, includes two landmark films which put Algeria front and centre on the international stage: Gillo Pontecorvo’s the battle of algiers (Italy 1966) and costa gavra’s (Algeria, France, Greece 1969) both of which garnered Academy Awards and had a strong influence on socially conscious films around the globe. Also included are rare screenings of films which inspired national Algerian cinema, chronicle of the year of embers (Algeria 1975)by Mohammed Lakhdar Hamina, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes; opium and the baton by Ahmed Rachedi (Algeria 1969); the delightful comedy inspector tahar’s holiday (Algeria 1972) by Moussa Haddad and bab el-qued city (Algeria, France 1994) by Merzak Allouache.
Also, for the first time in the Festival’s history, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to an Arab celebrity. Whilst there are many renowned Arabic film stars, the achievements that Egyptian legend, Sawsan Badr, has accomplished in both leading and supporting actress roles are unrivalled. Her performance will be showcased at this year’s festival with Atef Hatata’s film closed doors (Egypt, France 1999). In the Showcase section, Yousry Nasrallah’s Film after the battle will be shown. He will also receive the Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award. Previous recipients are Ashgar Farhadi, Mohamad Al-Daradji, Nadine Labaki, Amin Matalqa and Elia Suleiman.
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.