The Abu Dhabi International Film Festival showcased films from all over the world, but of course the spotlight was especially on films from the Arab world and from the Arab Emirates in particular.
Films included shorts as well as full length features, and many films were made by film and media students. Subjects included the role of women in the Arab world compared to their role in the West.
There was a competition for short films which was won by ‘Gheamt Shroog’ by Ahmed Zain – a story about a group of schoolchildren bunking off for the day. The director said: “Emirati cinema is on its way. We started in 2001 and you are going to see new films, a different sort of cinema.”
‘The Queen’ by Hadi Shuaib won the prize for best documentary.
SANAD is a support fund set up in Abu Dhabi to encourage the fledgling industry – not only in the Arab Emirates, but across the Arab world. Marie-Pierre Macia, the director of SANAD said: “It is important that the Arab world can tell its own stories. I’ve seen for example, short films made by Emirati students, and it’s surprising to see what they have to say. We haven’t heard it before, we haven’t seen it before, it’s new and that’s true right across the Arab world. Perhaps it’s less new in the Arab world, but even so on the international scene it’s really something – we aren’t used to seeing all these stories.”
SANAD has already funded several full length features including ‘Sun Dress’ which is the tragic story of an unloved woman.
With this festival, the Arab Emirates have firmly thrown their hat into the international film-making ring.
For more information see