Abu Dhabi blends talents
The fifth installation of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival will light up the desert Oct. 13 with a blend of international star power and homespun talent.
“The only reason we don’t have ‘international’ in our name is that Abu Dhabi is such an international city that the word would seem redundant,” says fest executive director Peter Scarlet.
The city, Scarlet notes, is made up largely of transplants. “Eighty-five percent of the people who live here are ex-pats, and they became the core of our audience right away, but our Emirati neighbors have an enormous curiosity about cinema.”
Those Emirati neighbors have contributed a lot of local talent to the fest. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Emirates Film Competition, which has been absorbed by the festival.
As part of the special contest, Emirati director Nawaf al-Janafi will unspool his second feature, “Sea Shadow,” a coming-of-age story set in an Emirati neighborhood, Fireej, where tradition is sacred.