x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012 briefs: Christo and highlights

The artist Christo finally gives a rough timeline for the production of his The Mastaba work and we round up the best tidbits from the festival's events thus far.

Christo's The Mastaba, to be housed in the Western Region, will be produced within 30 to 36 months. Delores Johnson / The National
Christo's The Mastaba, to be housed in the Western Region, will be produced within 30 to 36 months. Delores Johnson / The National

At long last the artist Christo has provided a rough delivery date for his UAE project The Mastaba, expecting it to be finished sometime in 2015. He made the prediction during question-and-answer session at Marina Mall's Vox Cinemas after a packed screening of Nomad of Art and The Gates, two documentaries focused on his and wife Jeanne-Claude's works. The giant artwork, slated for the Western Region, has been in the planning stages since 1977. "A project has software and hardware phases," said the 77-year-old Bulgarian-born artist. "We're now in the software phase of The Mastaba, working behind the scenes, doing presentations, meetings, talking to the people living in Al Gharbia, where the work will be built."

When another audience member asked when the work will be finished, Christo said: "If everything goes well, the project can be done in 30 months."

A representative for Christo later confirmed "rough estimates" of 30 to 36 months.

Highlights from the festival to date

The Abu Dhabi Big Band provided the soundtrack to the opening party of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012, set in the grounds of Emirates Palace on Thursday night. There was also time for a performance from the UAE-based oud maestro Kamal Mussallam, followed by some DJ action that went on into the wee hours ... The Arbitrage actor Nate Parker seems to be having a good time in the capital, tweeting on Friday: "Abu Dhabi has been incredible. So much love"... At the end of Beat Takeshi's incomprehensible new Yakuza/bad cop movie Outrage Beyond Friday, a Japanese woman who was asked if she understood the film, particularly its relentlessly violent last 20 minutes, replied: "It is a very complex society"... Curious journalists wondering why Richard Gere appeared to be sending a hot drink back during Friday morning's press conference were told the actor simply wanted more. The actor "inhales green tea", said a source. Gere, who said he'd only left Emirates Palace once since arriving in Abu Dhabi, was also spotted at Hakkasan Thursday night ... Jaeger-LeCoultre, a partner of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, had a little film fest of its own in a suite at Emirates Palace on Thursday. Besides lending watches to the red-carpet walkers, the luxury Swiss watchmaker showed a gathering of journalists a short film of its own, featuring brand ambassador Diane Kruger.

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