Arab cinema to attract spotlight at film festival

ABU DHABI — The Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) last week released the names of films to be screened in three more categories — Middle East Spotlight, GCC Films and the Arab Women Directors.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Tue 9 Oct 2007, 8:38 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:47 AM

These three sections collectively present a mix of 31 feature, documentary and short films that were created by acclaimed as well as emerging filmmakers.

The selections are from 12 countries from the region: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Among the 10 films in the Middle East Spotlight category are ‘Dhalal Al Samt’ (Shadow of Silence), a Saudi Arabian film by Abdulla Al Muheisen. The director presents an unusual subject for an Arab movie — about an authoritarian regime that employs the latest technologies to isolate and manipulate the elite intellectuals in a remote centre in the desert.

The GCC Films category includes 13 presentations, including the first film in the Gulf, ‘The Cruel Sea’ (Bas ya Bahr).

This Kuwaiti movie, directed by Khalid El-Siddiq, is the dramatic tale of Mussaid, the young son of a poor pearl diver. He is banned from going to sea, as his father was previously crippled by a shark and does not want his son to encounter the same danger.

The UAE is represented by two short films and two documentaries in this category.

The eight filmmakers in the Arab Women Directors category are: Selma Baccar from Tunisia with her movie ‘Dance on Fire’; Waha Al Raheb, Syria — ‘Dreamy Visions’; Farida Benlyazid, Morocco — ‘Women’s Ruses’; Bahega Hafez, Egypt — ‘Layla, the Bedouin’; Alia Arasoughly, Palestine — ‘After the Last Sky’; Nahed Awwad, Palestine — ‘Going for a Ride?’; Rowan Al Faqih, Palestine — ‘Summer of ‘85’; and Ghada Terawi, Palestine — ‘The Way Back Home’.

The full list of entries for all three categories is available on MEIFF web site The festival organisers also announced that Nadine Labaki, director of ‘Caramel’, has been chosen for the Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award and that Abu Dhabi Media Company will offer US $100,000 sponsorship to one Emirati filmmaker.

All films will be screened at Emirates Palace and/or Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi on October 14-19. Within the next few days, MEIFF will also announce the selections for the Bollywood category, which is a celebration of Indian cinema.

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