Film festivals the world over are facing challenges and are, in a way, churning.
One of the most visible aspects of all these is the change of guard. Marco Mueller, who salvaged a sinking Venice Film Festival during the early part of his eight-year reign as the head of the event on the Lido, is now set to pilot an equally difficult Rome International Film Festival, starting on November 9.
Elsewhere, in Mumbai, Srinivasan Narayan who has headed the Reliance-funded Festival for some years now, was about to step down. But was persuaded not to do so. So was the case with the International Film Festival of India, whose Director, Shankar Mohan, had given in his papers. However, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry saw the folly in such a situation, and asked him to continue.
At Doha, Director Amanda Palmer has left the young Festival to start her own media company.
At Abu Dhabi, Festival Director Peter Scarlett has quit, and Ali Al Jabri has taken over the six-year-old event. "All I can say is that everything is going well and as planned", he told the Khaleej Times recently.
The Festival (October 11 to 20) will return to its usual and popular venue, the Emirates Palace, this year. Last year, the main venue was the Fairmont Hotel. This time, screenings will also be held – as usual – at the cinemas in the Marina Mall and at the Abu Dhabi Theatre.
Apart from the Festival’s competitions for long, short and documentary films, the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence will be celebrated with a programme of the country’s cinema. Then there will be a showcase of critically acclaimed movies from all over the world.
This year, the Festival will be organised by TwoFour54 as part of a plan to strategically align the event with Abu Dhabi’s other media initiatives and related programmes.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering the Abu Dhabi Film Festival this year)