x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

One on one with Abu Dhabi Film Festival's new director Ali Al Jabri

Abu Dhabi Film Festival's new director Ali Al Jabri and he's sticking to the structure. If it's working why change it? He also tells us why the festival won't be held at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

Ali Al Jabri, the director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Courtesy ADFF
Ali Al Jabri, the director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Courtesy ADFF

Congratulations on your new position as festival director. Are you hoping to bring in any new changes?

For the moment, I think the shape of the festival is great. Here at the festival we're always trying to keep the audience here in the country. I want the people to breathe the festival, to live it with us, and not just that it comes for nine days and then they forget it. We want people to be waiting every year for the festival. Any change will come when we think it's the right time to change.

Juggling regional and international programming is something the Abu Dhabi Film Festival has managed to do well in the past. With you coming from the Emirates Film Competition, are we going to see a lean towards more regional filmmaking?

If you think about what the festival wants to be as the emotional home of Arabic cinema, then my experience with the Emirates Film Competition and being an Arabic filmmaker does help me understand the balance between international and regional and what international filmmaking brings to filmmaking in the region.

The festival lasted just one year at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr. Can you explain the move back to Emirates Palace?

We tried to build outdoor screenings and see how it was going, and it was very good. But here in Emirates Palace we have a nice cinema and auditorium, which is close to most people, and Vox Cinemas is also close by. It's big, so many people can attend.