View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Abu Dhabi Middle East International Film Festival 2008

Abu Dhabi's Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) kicks off on October 10 for a ten-day run with 138 films from 32 countries in the lineup and awards of more than one million dollars in the four competition sections.

Over 60 films will participate in the official 'Black Pearl' competitions in the feature, documentary, short and student film categories, according to a press release from the Berlin-based Boxer & Sparrow Film PR.

Festival director Nashwa al Ruwaini noted, 'The official competition is the place to be at MEIFF to see up-and-coming films and premieres from across the globe.

'Our many world and regional premieres, and features in competition include 'O'Horten' from Norway and 'Mermaid' from Russia,' he said, adding that both had been submitted a the Best Foreign Language Film in next year's Academy Awards.

'The selections this year include a high percentage of dramatic works that focus on women, their relationships and the universal challenges they face in the world around them,' al-Ruwaini added.

In the feature film competition, of the 15 entries, seven are world premieres and two are regional premieres.

World premieres include director Samir Habachi's 'Beirut: Open City' (Lebanon), Egyption director Magdi Ahmed Ali's 'Fawzie: a Special Blend,' and Saleh Karama's 'Henna' (UAE).

Among international films competing are Ayten Mutiu Saray's 'Zara' (a Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands and Kurdistan co-production), director Alexander Melnik's 'Terra Nova' (Russia) making its regional premiere, and Indian director Girish Kasaravalli's 'Gulabi Talkies.'

Films in the eight-event documentary competition include 'Seven Blind Filmakers' (Iran) directed by Mohammed Shirvani, 'Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love' (a Senegal, Egypt, and France coproduction) from director Elisabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, and director Jame Marsh's 'Man on Wire' (Britain, U.S.A.)

In the short films competition, 30 films from 21 countries will compete in the four sections, Aspects of Life, World of Youth, Middle East Vision, and Animation and Experimental.

Featured shorts include 'Sometimes,' directed by Egyptian Helmer Mahmoud Soliman, 'Boxing Lesson' from Romanian director Alexandru Marrodinue, 'Breadmakers (Britain) from Yasmin Fredda, 'Boutellisse' (Tunisia) from director Nasreddinee Shili, and 'The Graffiti of Mister Tupaia' (New Zealand) directed by Christopher Dudman.

Among the 17 films in the student competition are 'All the Iraqi' (Lebanon) from Vatche Boulghourjian, 'Kate Wakes' (USA) from Jasmine Kosovic, 'The Morning with Other Eye' (Russia), Philipp Yurev, and 'Ya Haiawood' from the Students of Worksop by Amman Filmmakers Cooperative in Jordan.

For the first time at the MEIFF, a section of the festival will concentrate on environmental films and also showcase documentaries highlighting the 60 years since the division of then-Palestine and various high-profile industry initiatives.

The MEIFF is an annual event and a project of the Abu Dhabi Authorities for Culture and Heritage dedicated to bringing international films and programs to the community and introducing filmmakers from around the world to the resources of the region.