UAE capital’s celebration of global cinema kicked off with a home production for the first time on 23rd October 2014.
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival started its eighth edition with a first: It opened with a home production, putting Ali Mustafa’s film From A To B in a slot usually reserved for big-budget Hollywood films.
It is the first Emirati feature to open the festival in its nearly decade long operation. Many of the films showing at ADFF over the next nine days have already won over critics at major global film festivals, and festival director Ali Al Jabri said he and his team sought those films out. “Having films from all over the world, especially Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, and Venice is very important for us and will make the festival very special.”
From A To B depicts the tale of three pals, Fadi Rifaai, Shadi Al Fons and Fahad Al Butairi, who go on a road trip from Abu Dhabi to Beirut to honour their dead best friend.
Last year, Indian actor Irrfan Khan was at Dubai International Film Festival for the premiere of his hit film The Lunchbox. This year, he is president of ADFF’s Narrative Features competition jury.
French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb and American producer Edward Pressman were recipients of ADFF’s Career Achievement Awards during the opening ceremony. Pressman is known for films such as The Crow, American Psycho and Wall Street. Bouchareb’s most recent film, Two Men in Town stars Whitaker as a Muslim convert.
The granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, Carmin who is a brand ambassador of Jaeger-LeCoultre was also present at ADFF 2014 and revealed the legendary actor “visited the Middle East”.
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival runs until November 1 screening total of 197 films, of which nine are feature length world premieres and 48 short film premieres
As One: The Autism Project, the documentary that was showcased at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival on Saturday, was met with gestures usually reserved for rock legends. But the standing ovation, cheering and dabbing tears of happiness weren’t aimed at a music idol or a Hollywood star, but for ten autistic children who starred in this stirring documentary.
“We wanted to make a change in people’s thoughts about how they perceived autism... I am so thrilled and overwhelmed by the reactions today,” said Hana Makki, the producer of As One: The Autism Project.
The documentary chronicles the lives of ten autistic children ranging from 4 to 17 years of age and their families who are gearing up for a musical comedy. They belong to different nationalities and are strangers on day one, but end up bonding for life.
The documentary stemmed from an initiative started by Shaikha Shamsa Bint Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to raise awareness of autism in the UAE.