Indian actress Shabana Azmi will preside over the main Fiction Feature Competition jury at the 6th Abu Dhabi International Film Festival, starting on October 11. She is the first woman ever to chair the Festival jury.
The other members of Azmi’s team will be Iranian actress-director-screenwriter Niki Karimi, French director of Moroccan origin Ismael Ferroukhi, Czech producer Cedomir Kolar and Chilean director-producer-screenwriter-novelist Miguel Littin.
The opening night will see Indian superstar Mammootty along with Hollywood bigwigs like Richard Gere (remember the flutter he created some years ago when he kissed actress Shilpa Shetty on stage) and Robert Redford walking the Red Carpet.
Mohammed Al Turki from Saudi Arabia and director, Nicholas Jarecki, whose Arbitrage will herald the 10-day Festival, and Iranian star, Golshifteh Farahani, among others will also be part of the inaugural ceremony.
Among the several fiction features, documentary features and shorts from 48 countries – with several world premieres – India’s Mumbai Cha Raja by Manjeet Singh and ID by Kamal will compete in a section called New Horizons.
Nisha Pahuja’s The World Before Her will be part of the Documentary Feature Competition, and Sujata by Shlok Sharma will vie with other short movies.
Beyond India, works like After the Battle (Egypt’s Yousry Nasrallah), Betrayal (Russia), Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday, Gebo and the Shadow (by 103-year-old Manoel de Oliveira), Sally Potter’s Ginger and Rosa, Harraga Blues (from Algeria), Tunisia’s Hidden Beauty, In the House (by Francois Ozon), Australia’s Lore, No (from Chile), Perfumes of Algiers (Rachid Benhadj),China’s The Last Supper, A Hijacking (Denmark), Iran’s A Respectable Family, Beasts of the Southern Wild (USA), Swedish Eat Sleep Die, Keep Smiling (Georgia), Morocco’s The Miscreants, The Company You Keep (Robert Redford) and Songlap from Malaysia will be some of the films to look for at the Festival, which ends on October 20.
South Korea will be the Festival’s spotlight, and 50 years of Algerian independence will be celebrated with some classics. Workshops and master classes will be some of the other events.
The Festival will for the first time honour an Arab talent, actress Sawsan Badr, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Claudia Cardinale, Tunisia-born Italian actress, will be the second recipient of this Award. She will be seen in Oliviera’s work. (Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival this year)