There’s one major difference at this year’s Heritage Film Festival, Abu Dhabi’s only open-air film festival held in the Heritage Village, that kicks off on Saturday: it is no longer at the Heritage Village. For the first time, the festival is
upping sticks and moving from the old city to the Manarat Al Saadiyat museum on Saadiyat Island.
“We just thought that this was the future centre of Abu Dhabi when it comes to culture and decided it was time to change venue,” says Maya Röder, the cultural programme coordinator of the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region in Abu Dhabi, which is organising the festival. “We also felt that the topic of this year’s festival was more related to our current situation and society.”
While in previous years the Heritage Film Festival has dealt with issues such as identity and contrasts between the old and young, this time the theme is Strong Women.
“We noticed that this is really a topic that seems to be really prevalent in the film scene here lately, especially during the last few years at the Abu Dhabi and Dubai film festivals,” says Röder. “There have always been a lot of local, short films from young filmmakers that had something to do with women and their position in society or about certain gender roles.”
The festival’s opening film is Mother of UAE, a documentary about Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed. “I think this will be very interesting, especially for expats, because this is a lady everybody talks about when you talk about the UAE and how it became the UAE, but nobody knows that much about her,” says Röder.
Another major film screening at the event is Amal, a drama about an immigrant to the UAE by the Emirati director Nujoom Alghanem. “So here you have a strong woman behind the camera and a strong woman in front,” says Röder.
There will also be screenings of several Emirati and German short films, plus an educational element in a two-day workshop given by German film lecturer Till Brockmann.
Ÿ For more details about the Heritage Film Festival, which will take place from April 6 to April 8, visit www.goethe.de/heritagefilmfestival
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