x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Event returns with a new emphasis on Arab creativity

This year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) will focus on giving "more opportunities" to Arab talent, says the festival's new director, Ali Al Jabri.

This year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) will focus on giving "more opportunities" to Arab talent, says the festival's new director.

The sixth edition of the festival has undergone various structural changes to its management, including the appointment of the Emirati actor Ali Al Jabri as its new director.

It is also the first year the festival will be managed by Abu Dhabi's entertainment free zone, TwoFour54.

Al Jabri says he hopes he will be able to "introduce something new and different" this year.

"I am proud and excited that the decision-makers in the country have honoured me with their confidence and trust," he says.

More than 3,000 movies from 45 countries were submitted to this year's festival, which will include 39 films produced in the UAE.

According to the programming director Teresa Cavina, the films that were chosen had themes that "challenge and stimulate [the] creativity of local filmmakers".

The festival will have eight world premieres, 81 feature films, 62 narrative films and 19 documentaries.

Cavina says the "urban legend" was that Arabs could not make documentaries, "but this year the Arab selection is stronger than the international one".

She says the reason is the recent support in the region for Arab creativity.

ADFF has returned to Emirates Palace hotel after a stint last year at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

Apart from the actor Richard Gere, who will walk the red carpet on the opening night, other big Hollywood stars have yet to be revealed. However, there are "still guests to be confirmed".

Cavina likens the festival to a "fantastic, luxurious restaurant" that will make people forget about fast food.

"Some [films] will be sour, spicy or sweet, but definitely the best you can get," she says.