x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Here comes the jury for Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012

Deciding who gets what award and prize is the job of the jurors. We find out who they are.

Films don't only appear at film festivals for the benefit of the viewing public. They can win prizes, too. And money. At this year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival, there's over Dh3 million up for grabs across the five film categories: Narrative Feature, New Horizons, Documentary Feature, Short Films and the Emirates Film Competition. There are also awards from FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, and NETPAC, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema.

Deciding who gets what is the job of the jurors - groups of filmmakers, actors and critics who must sit in empty screenings with their notepads, making sure they're paying complete attention and aren't in danger of falling asleep due to a festival party the night before.

Heading up the Narrative Competition jury, which last year gave Marjane Satrapi the top prize, is the acclaimed Hindi actress Shabana Azmi. Azmi replaces Isabella Rossellini, who was announced as jury president earlier in the year but, say organisers, has had to cancel due to a forthcoming medical operation. Azmi will be joined by Cédomir Kolar, who directed the Oscar-winning No Man's Land, the Egyptian film critic Samir Farid, the Iranian filmmaker Niki Karimi and the French-Moroccan director Ismaël Farroukhi, who was a winner at last year's festival.

In the New Horizons category, which looks to recognise early work from an emerging director, the Oscar-winning film editor Françoise Bonnot is leading a jury that also includes Mohamed Al-Daradji, who picked up Variety's Middle East Filmmaker of the Year at the 2010 festival and the UAE's own Nawaf Al-Janahi, whose film Sea Shadow premiered last year.

It might be a prestigious job, but it's one that requires a lot of concentration. So if you see any of these names up a little too late one night during the festival, be sure to give them a gentle nudge.