8th Abu Dhabi Film Festival

United Arab Emirates, October 23 - November 1 2014

The jury

Kirill Razlogov (Russia), Subrahmanyan Viswanath (India), Rich Cline (Great Britain), Tarek el-Shinnawi (Egypt), Kais Kasim (Iraq)

Awarded films

In its eight years the Abu Dhabi Film Festival has established itself as the central cinematic event in the Middle East. Its focus is the complex relationship between local cultures and the achievements of world cinema. In recent years the importance of the festival for the regional film industry grew enormously thanks to the creation of Sanad (“Support” in Arabic) – the development and post-production fund of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. The manager of the fund Intishal Al Timimi is the director of Arab programming. It assures the continuity of a tradition, established many years ago by the Rotterdam Film festival and the Hubert Bals Fund.  Oriented towards the Arab creativity (a special section of famous films from the Arab diaspora was presented alongside new movies), the present edition of the festival put it in relation to recently restored classics, tributes to Rachid Bouchareb and Edward Pressman and a retrospective of Francois Truffaut’s masterpieces. The extremes and the scope of the festival can be illustrated by the contrast between the opening and the closing films. The festival started with a world premiere of an Emirati production From A to B, a road movie sequel to City of Life (2009) by the same young local director Ali Mostafa, and finished with the Hollywood 3D Disney animated film Big Hero 6. The public filled the 10 screening facilities – 9 in a Multiplex and one auditorium in the spectacular Emirates Palace, where the festivities and round table discussions took place. Foreign, regional and local films were greeted by the public with equal enthusiasm. We witnessed a high level of activity in the Q&A sessions, following most screenings. The FIPRESCI Jury focused on recent Arabic films – seven documentaries from the competitive section and nine fiction films (five from the narrative competition and four from New Horizons). Among the fiction films the New Horizons selection seemed to us more innovative and daring, whereas the documentaries, of course, were more informative. Both sections proved the vitality of the cinema in the region as art and industry. (Kirill Razlogov)

Abu Dhabi Film Festival: www.abudhabifilmfestival.ae