The 4th Abu Dhabi Film Festival will present 70 feature films from over 28 countries. 12 films will have their World Premieres, 4 of which were co-produced with SANAD, the Festival’s new fund that provides development and post-production support for films from the Arab world. The Festival will open on October 14 with Secretariat, directed by Randall Wallace and starring John Malkovich and Diane Lane. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame by Tsui Hark will close out the Festival with a screening preceding the Black Pearl Awards ceremony on October 23.
Executive Director Peter Scarlet remarked, “This has been a year of numerous exciting developments for our young festival, from our name change and rebranding to the addition of the New Horizons Competition and the launch of our fund SANAD. Our program is the culmination of all the work of our programmers, who sifted and sleuthed their way through over 2,000 submissions for this edition, twice as many as last year. The enthusiastic response to last year’s edition from the international and regional film community raised the bar on what we aimed to offer in 2010 and we’re proud to be unveiling another strong program in which international cinema and films from the Arab world meet “at the same table” again. Showing films from the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Julian Schnabel, Olivier Assayas, François Ozon and Patricio Guzmán, to name just a few, is always a pleasure. But it’s particularly gratifying to see these directors’ films alongside works from the region. And in particular, we’re very excited to be showing the first fruits of SANAD in the form of several films in our competition sections. As the Festival plays an ever-greater role in helping develop and promote filmmaking from the Arab world, we look forward to seeing even more new discoveries, whether from familiar names or new talents.”
The 12 World premieres in the Festival are Here Comes the Rain by Bahij Hojeij (Lebanon, UAE), Taming by Nidal Al-Dibs (Syria), Homeland by George Sluizer (Netherlands), A Man’s Story by Varon Bonicos (UK), Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace by Harry Hunkele (USA), In/Out of the Room by Dina Hamza (Egypt), Living Skin by Fawzi Saleh (Egypt), OK, Enough, Goodbye by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia (Lebanon, UAE), Qarantina by Oday Rasheed (Iraq, Germany, UAE), Sun Dress by Saeed Salmeen (UAE), Wrecked by Michael Greenspan (Canada), and Paan Singh Tomar by Tigmanshu Dhulia (India).
The Festival has three competitions for features that offer cash awards totalling 1 million USD. The Narrative and Documentary Competitions are joined this year by the New Horizons section, a competition for first- and second-time directors. Other sections of the Festival include Showcase, an international selection of outstanding films eligible for the $30,000 Audience Award, and “What in the World Are We Doing to Our World?”, films devoted to broadening awareness of significant environmental issues.
The Festival’s highly anticipated special programs include a selection of restored classics and several films from the series “Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema” presented in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art and ArteEast.
The Festival’s short film programs were previously announced.
To mark its 4th addition the Festival is pleased to host two prestigious international juries, the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI – Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) and the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC), which will present awards to films chosen from the Festival’s program.