Randall Wallace’s horse racing drama “Secretariat,” and “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” from director Tsui Mark will bookend the upcoming fourth Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), which will play host this year to twelve world premieres, and 70 films in total. Four of the films making their world premieres at the festival were co-produced with SANAD, the new fund created by ADFF to provided development and post-production support for films from the Arab world. The festival runs from October 14 – 23.
Three feature competitions round out ADFF this year: Narrative, Documentary and the New Horizons section for first and second-time directors. Tallied together all three offer cash rewards totaling one million dollars USD. Notable entries in the Narrative Competition include Oliver Assayas’ “Carlos,” Dennis Villeneuve’s critically acclaimed TIFF winner “Incendies,” Catherine Deneuve starrer “Potiche” from director Francois Ozon, and Aleksei Fedorchenko’s Russian drama “Silent Souls.”
The documentary section, meanwhile, is comprised of a few world premieres, including “A Man’s Story” from UK’s Varon Bonicos and George Sluizer’s “Homeland.” Other films in competition include Patricio Guzman’s festival circuit darling “Nostalgia for the Light,” Kim Longinotto’s “Pink Saris” which played at TIFF this year, and Mohamed Al-Daradji and Atia Al-Daradji’s “In My Mother’s Arms” which was co-produced by the aforementioned SANAD.
This year’s festival also includes the Showcase section, where an international array of films are eligible for the $30,000 Audience Award. Films slated on this lineup include Abbas Kiarostami’s Cannes winner “Certified Copy,” Doug Liman’s political thriller “Fair Game,” Matt Reeves’ chilling vampire drama “Let Me In,” and Laura Poitras’ documentary “The Oath.”
“This has been a year of numerous exciting developments for our young festival, from our name change and rebranding to the addition of the New Horizons Competition and the launch of our fund SANAD,” said Executive Director Peter Scarlet. “Our program is the culmination of all the work of our programmers, who sifted and sleuthed their way through over 2,000 submissions for this edition, twice as many as last year. Showing films from the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Julian Schnabel, Olivier Assayas, François Ozon and Patricio Guzmán, to name just a few, is always a pleasure. But it’s particularly gratifying to see these directors’ films alongside works from the region. And in particular, we’re very excited to be showing the first fruits of SANAD in the form of several films in our competition sections. As the festival plays an ever-greater role in helping develop and promote filmmaking from the Arab world, we look forward to seeing even more new discoveries, whether from familiar names or new talents.”
For ADFF’s full lineup, visit their official site.