x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ticket sales for Abu Dhabi Film Festival jump by third

Chief of ADFF promises next year will be even more exciting, though he is giving away no secrets just yet.

The Hollywood actor Adrien Brody with fans at the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in October. This year's festival drew at least 30,000 people.
The Hollywood actor Adrien Brody with fans at the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in October. This year's festival drew at least 30,000 people.

ABU DHABI // Ticket sales for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) grew by almost a third over last year, according to figures released yesterday.

With the growing popularity of the festival, Peter Scarlet, the executive director of ADFF, promises next year will be even more exciting , though he is giving away no secrets just yet.

Instead, he is focused on the coming months, which he said would be "crucial to solidifying some of our programming".

Dates for the fifth instalment of the film festival have been announced: it will take place from October 13-22, 2011, and preparations are well under way. This year's festival drew at least 30,000 people.

"We are assessing the [results of the] 2010 edition, as it serves as the foundation to develop plans and strategies for next year," Mr Scarlet said. "Abu Dhabi, in general, is going through a surge of cultural development and growth that puts the festival in an exciting context."

Tim Smythe, the chief executive of the Dubai-based Filmworks, a production company that was part of the production team for Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol, said that, for the first time in years, there was more private and public support for the industry.

"Film festivals do not just drive the industry forward, they create an avenue for people to showcase their work," Mr Smythe said.

He said filming MI:4 was a positive experience, but more efforts needed to be put in place to take things further.

"Critical factors such as incentives to attract international filmmakers and subsidies to produce local work should be addressed," Mr Smythe said. More than 2,000 film submissions were received at this year's festival - both regional and international films - marking a 100 per cent increase from 2009.

Mr Scarlet said these figures were a sign that ADFF initiatives to foster filmmaking and cinema appreciation in Abu Dhabi and beyond were "beginning to bear fruit". Those initiatives include showing Arab films in competition alongside films from elsewhere around the globe.

ADFF 2010 featured a selection of 170 films and 100 Q&A sessions, offering audiences the opportunity to engage in conversations with local and international filmmakers.

"What is great about Abu Dhabi is that the diversity of the population makes for a vibrant array of perspectives," Mr Scarlet said.

melshoush@thenational.ae