The scene outside the screening of The Company You Keep at Emirates Palace was verging on pandemonium on Friday night, as ticket holders formed an amorphous queue to wait for entrance to the theatre. Maybe it was because there was only one screening, or maybe some fans were holding on to the hope that its star and director, Robert Redford, would make a surprise appearance (alas, it was not to be). Nonetheless, ADFF's people herders kept everything under control, guiding the crowds into an orderly queue and then calling on them to follow, single-file, into the theatre. "We don't want anyone to get lost," one said. To which someone in the line cracked: "I feel like I'm in daycare - what do they want us to do, hold hands?"
The Arbitrage star Nate Parker, perhaps the most polite actor we've ever spoken to, said that he brought his wife and young daughter along with him for his first trip to Abu Dhabi. "I try to look at everything through the lens of family," he told us. "And it started the first morning when my daughter and I went on the balcony and saw six camels just outside the room." The actor is a new fan of the regional clothiers Sacoor Brothers, who are holding court at the film festival's VIP Lounge. They had a suit fitted and ready for him in two hours - just in time to wear on the red carpet for Friday night's Moët & Chandon Gala Event at Emirates Palace.
Parker's fellow actor Richard Gere took time out from charming Abu Dhabi residents to pop into the lounge, too - leaving with a Nadine Kanso bracelet that the designer had made specifically for him … Awwww, hard not to love the budding filmmaker and local culture staple Sana Bagersh, who tweeted this as she was preparing to walk her first red carpet: "Wrote a simple script one night + now this...who would have thought?" … The National's ace photographer Silvia Razgova has been wandering the film festival taking candid, behind-the-scenes shots at the events. We post a batch of them every day, along with film picks of the day and the latest gossip, at the Scene&Heard blog.