By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire September 24, 2009 at 5:47AM
The Third Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) has announced its gala screenings for its festival, October 8-17. The festival's Centerpiece film will be the documentary "Oceans" by "Microcosmos" directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud. The Closing Night film for the festival will be Grant Heslov's "The Men Who Stare at Goats." The festival announced earlier this week that the Egyptian film "The Traveler will open the festival October 8. The Auditorium of the Emirates Palace Hotel will house all of the films' first screenings.
Here are the list of the festival's gala films with synopses provided by the festival:
"Blue" by Anthony D'Souza, India 2009 (WORLD PREMIERE)
Bollywood’s first underwater thriller hits Abu Dhabi in Anthony D’Souza’s hyper-charged remake of "The Deep." Three friends seek a sunken treasure surrounded by deadly sharks – and deadlier humans. A megastar-studded cast includes Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, and former Miss Universe Lara Dutta. Music by A.R. Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire") and Kylie Minogue.
"Capitalism: A Love Story" by Michael Moore, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
Michael Moore returns to examine the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans. Using his trademark sardonic humor, Moore asks what price America must pay for its love of capitalism.
"The Informant!" by Steven Soderbergh, USA 2009, (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
A biochemist exposes his company’s role in an international price-fixing conspiracy in this black comedy – based on a true story. Matt Damon gives a stellar performance in one of Soderbergh’s finest and funniest works.
"The Men Who Stare at Goats" by Grant Heslov, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) – Closing Night
In this quirky dark comedy inspired by a real-life story, astonishing revelations about a top-secret wing of the U.S. military come to light. “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers that can kill a goat simply by staring at it, but the program’s founder has gone missing. George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey star.
"The Messenger" by Oren Moverman, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
Ben Foster is an Iraq War veteran who faces the emotional minefield of civilians dealing with the death of a loved one in this refreshing perspective on the casualties of war. Oren Moverman (screenwriter of "I'm Not There") makes a confident directorial debut with this poignant story which also stars Woody Harrelson.
"Oceans" ("Océans") by Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, France 2009 (WORLD PREMIERE) – Centerpiece Screening
The team behind "Winged Migration" and "Microcosmos" return with their most breathtaking work to date, a trip across and through the oceans themselves. The use of the latest High-Definition cameras allows viewers to see the sea and its astonishing inhabitants in ways never before possible.
"Scheherazade, Tell Me A Story" ("Ehky ya Schahrazad") by Yousry Nasrallah, Egypt 2009 (GULF PREMIERE)
Borrowing the stories-within-stories framework of "Arabian Nights," this taboo-breaking film scandalized Egypt with its risky portrait of female sexual desire and male-female relationships. Mona Zaki stars as a TV hostess whose successful career raises issues for her husband.
"Shorts" by Robert Rodriguez, United Arab Emirates/USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
A nerdy, picked-on boy’s life changes when a rainbow-colored rock falls from the sky that grants all wishes to anyone who holds it, in this out-of-control kid’s film by the director of "Spy Kids," with William H. Macy and James Spader.
"The Traveler" ("Al Mosafer") by Ahmed Maher, Egypt 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) – Opening Night
Set against the backdrop of key moments in Egypt’s recent history makes it impossible not to see this enormously impressive debut as a moving meditation on a man’s fumbling search for his identity, a search which comes to reflect that of his nation.
[For more information, vist the the festival website.