Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:05 am (KSA) 21:05 pm (GMT)

Female filmmakers invade Abu Dhabi festival

Saudi director Ahd Kamel on location
Saudi director Ahd Kamel on location

The organizing committee of Abu Dhabi Film Festival announced its selections for its fourth round and took critics and audience alike by surprise when revealing that 15 female directors from the Gulf are to take part in the annual event.

Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) announced Monday that two female directors from Saudi Arabia, nine from the UAE, and four from Qatar will be taking part in the festival which is to be held from 14th to 23rd of October.

 Winning films will be promoted and given ample screening time throughout the year 
ADFF Project Director Eisa al-Mazroui

According to the list of participating films, of which Al Arabiya obtained a copy of, Saudi director Ahd Kamel will be participating with the film al-Qondarji (The Shoemaker) and her compatriot Reem al-Bayat with Domia (A Doll). Both will compete in the short film category.

From the UAE, director Moza al-Sharif takes part with her movie al-Zawja al-Thania (The Second wife), Ahlam al-Banay and Jumana al-Ghanem with Ana Arabi (I am Arab), and Maitha Hamdan with al-Mohr Mahira (Mahira the Horse).

Other UAE movies include Qafzet al-Iman (Leap of Faith) by Amena Ehtesham, al-Cinderella al-Jadida (The New Cinderella) by Eva Daaoud, al-Rajol al-Samak (The Fish Man) by Rola Shams, and Eshsh by Hafsa al-Motawaa abd Shama Abu Nawaz.

Qatar is represented by Ana Fi Beladi (I am in My Country) by Shorouk Shahin, al-Sayeda al-Wardeya (The Pinl Lady) by Sara Rakano and Shorouk Shahin, and Influenza al-Saraseer (Cockroach Flu) by Asmaa and Nora al-Kharousi.

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the festival organizer, announced that 134 movies from the Gulf region applied for participation out of which 47 were chosen from Oman, Saudi Atabia, Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain.

All those movies will take part in the festival’s Emirates Competition with its different categories. The festival allocates 400,000 dirhams worth of prizes for Gulf movies that take part in the competition and which focus on the region’s culture and history.

According to ADFF Project Director Eisa al-Mazroui, winning films will get the festival’s full support.

“Winning films will be promoted and given ample screening time throughout the year,” he said in a statement.

First of its kind

 I am not sure there has been a comparable trend towards artistic independence here since the late 1960s 
ADFF Executive Director Peter Scarlet

ADFF Executive Director Peter Scarlet noted that the festival is the first of its kind in the region as far as innovation and creativity are concerned.

“I am not sure there has been a comparable trend towards artistic independence here since the late 1960s. These filmmakers are breaking the mold and developing a new cinematic vocabulary that is unique to the Arab region. It is our mission to provide these inspired artistic experiments with the support they need.”

Abu Dhabi Film Festival, formerly called the Middle East International Film Festival, was launched in 2007 with the purpose of creating “vibrant film culture throughout the region” as its mission statement puts it.

Among the festival’s main goals is bringing together Arab filmmakers who focus on the history and culture of the region as well as major international works in order to boost the city’s promotion of cosmopolitanism and cultural diversity.


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).

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