Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2013: Villa 69 makes it world debut
Saeed Saeed | October 30, 2013
Delores Johnson Staff Photographer
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival was home to another world debut last night.
The Egyptian drama Villa 69, made with assistance with the festival’s SANAD fund, received warm applause last night after premiering at the Emirates Palace Ballroom.
Starring Khaled Abou Naja,Lebleba and Sally Abeid, the affecting drama traced the life of the snarly architect Hussein.
Wracked by illness, Hussein’s self imposed seclusion is interrupted with the arrival of his sister Nadra (Lebleba) and nephew Seif (Omar El Ghandour).
Laced with droll humour and touching realisations, Villa 69 is a film about confronting the past and directed by one of Egypt’s future film stars.
Villa 69 is Aytin Amin’s debut feature film, her previous credits include the 2011 documentary Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Politician and the 2009 short film Spring 89.
“I just wanted to tell a story,” Amin said after the screening.
“It was something personal that I was working on and now I am glad people have come to enjoy it. I am grateful.”
Veteran actress Lebleba applauded Amin’s vision and challenged fellow established actors to work with young directors.
“Many actors don’t want to take the risk,” she stated.
“They think they could be used in the wrong way and that was never the case with me in the film. I trusted the script and I trusted her direction and I am really happy with the result.”
A similar sentiment was echoed by producer Mohamed Hefzy. “This should happen more,” he said.
“We need people to take a leap of faith with first time directors in terms of financing, production and distribution and I am grateful for all the stars who were involved in this film.”
Another SANAD funded film, the Iraqi drama In The Sands of Babylon, screened this afternoon at Marina Mall's Vox Cinemas.
Directed by Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, the film follows an Iraqi soldier escaping from Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War.
The Abu Dhabi Festival continues until Saturday. For details go to www.abudhabifilmfestival.ae
World Cup Diary Day 26: When Belo Horizonte erupted
- Football diary: Germany’s Joachim Loew dreaming about Brazil
- World Cup Diary Day 24: Brazil fan’s World Cup final ticket saga
- World Cup Diary Day 23: Pope Francis, Spiderman and Rio’s cast of characters
- Paul the Octopus a hard act to follow; Maradona being Maradona; Ronaldo congratulates Klose
- Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014: award-winning Cannes director wants to meet regional filmmakers; The worst football team in the world; Nujoom Al Ganem wants international audience; Magical Girl is not for the fainthearted
- Mansour and the Superheroes to take to the ice this winter
- Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014: Festival volunteer turns star; how to get Johnny Knoxville into your short film; From A to B sells out
- ADFF buzz: Celebrities and Cuban rhythms at Emirates Palaces opening night party
- ADFF buzz: Stylish crowd celebrates opening night in Emirates Palace’s graceful garden
- Of Many is an inspiring movie that shows religious tolerance in practice
- Celebrating unity: a UAE-made documentary on religious understanding is making waves in the wider world
- Super Lochal: giving birth to a film superheroine in Abu Dhabi
- Bowls, plates and tulips: artists remember Iran’s stolen youth
- 5 things to do today: visit a exhibition and relax at ESPA
- Emirates Opera Project prepares to launch its new season