Curtains Come Down on Film Fest Filed on October 19, 2009

ABU DHABI Film fans across the 
UAE and the region have lots to look forward to next year as the curtains came down on the star-studded 10-day extravaganza of movies the third Middle East International Film Festival on Saturday.

Exposed to films from the region and those from across the world, the gala entertained film buffs with movies from all genres, be it comedy, tragic, political, based on environment, etc, making the festival truly memorable for the audience and those involved in the making of the films screened.

Young and passionate filmmaker, Gregg Helvey had travelled from the US to India to research and make a film on child slavery in the subcontinent. And, his entry was one of the highlights of the festival.

The festival offered films by acclaimed directors like Palestinian Elia Suleiman, whose film ‘The Time that Remains’ created a beautiful and touching image of lives of Arabs in Nazareth and the ‘Son of Babylon’ by Iraqi Mohamed Al Daradji.

There was also the best of 2009 Iranian cinema, ‘About Elly’, a film by Asgnar Farnadi, with international star Golshifteh Farahani, which is tipped to be screened at the Oscars next spring.

The repertoire also includes an impressive line-up of films that sent the cash registers ringing at the box-office, like Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism: a Love Story’, Robert Kenner’s ‘Food Inc’, Lang Zai Ji’s ‘The Warrior and the Wolf’ and Steven Soderbergh’s ‘The Informant’.

The festival had an interactive angle too, with legendary film musicians like David Amram, Richard Horowitz and Susan Deyhim giving master classes to packed halls.

Stars walked down the red carpet, including actor Franco Nero, who was there on behalf of wife Vanessa Redgrave, who was awarded her first Black Pearl for lifetime achievement, and Naomi Watts (‘21 Grams’, ‘King Kong’), who met with her fans here and answered their questions. She was also the star of the red carpet on the closing night.

World famous Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who was on the jury panel at MEIFF this year also walked down the red carpet on the final night.

However, one never got to see ‘True Colour’, the third Egyptian movie in the narrative competition, which had to be withdrawn because the only copy of the film that reached MEIFF in time was damaged.

MEIFF could do better next year with an improved sound system in place in the Emirates Palace auditorium, or better still, a purpose-built cinema.

Before the lights went off for the last movie of the Festival (Grant Heslov’s ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’, with George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey), it was time for the big business of the night — the awards ceremony.

Silvia Radan

I'm a senior journalist with 22 years experience in all forms of mass media. Originally from Romania, I lived and work in Bosnia, Uzbekistan, England and, for the past 10 years, in UAE. I specialize in art, culture, traditions, heritage, but also environment and the hospitality industry. I'm passionate about jazz and world music, cinema, mythology and offroading - I'm a marshal with one of UAE's offroading clubs!

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