Abu Dhabi Film Festival closes down
It seems like the end of an era for movies festivals across continents. The Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which ran its eighth edition last October, has pulled down its shutter.
The organising Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi said on Thursday in a Press Note that this step had been taken as part of a restructuring process. The priority had now shifted to greater support for local and Arab moviemakers and to attract a greater number of film productions to Abu Dhabi (capital of the United Arab Emirates).
This reason seems bewildering, given the fact that the festival was doing splendidly. It had been showcasing an exciting mix of movies from the Middle East and Africa as well as independent cinema. The cocktail of art-house and mainstream fare offered the right thrill to a varied audience, which one had been seeing at Abu Dhabi. Some insightful seminars and discussions were also part of the festival.
Last year's edition, which ran from October 23 to November 1, opened with Ali Mostafa's Emerati film, From A to B, and closed with Disney animation, Big Hero 6, with nearly 200 movies from more than 60 countries included. Andrey Zvyagintsev's Leviathan from Russia won the festival's top prize, the Black Pearl Award.
The festival was seen as a stiff competitor to the slightly older Dubai International Film Festival, which itself drastically scaled down its operations last December. Several programmers -- including Indian actress-director Suhasini (wife of auteur Mani Ratnam) -- were dropped as part of a move to hold the event on a low key.
With Abu Dhabi closing down, only Dubai remains in the Middle East, which had two more festivals -- Gulf Film Festival and Doha Film Festival. Both wound up in recent years.
Obviously, movie festivals do not appear to hold fascination for funding agencies. In 2014, India's Reliance Entertainment withdrew its financial support for the Mumbai Film Festival. Desperate, it had to go in for crowd-funding, and Bollywood mandarins like Aamir Khan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra stepped in to bail out of the festival. Srinivasan Narayan, who was the director of the festival for many years and who was credited with great movie selections, stepped down. Anupama Chopra, film critic and wife of Vidhu Vinod, is the new director.
Shankar Mohan, who was for long part of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI, oldest in the country), and who was at its helm for a few years, retired in December after the 11-day event in November. IFFI is still to have the director's slot filled on a permanent basis.
India has seen in recent times an explosion of smaller movie festivals -- in Pune, in Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai and so on. Although if you have seen one, you have seen it all -- the truth is that these newer festivals help those who might not be able to travel to Panaji for IFFI.
However, it remains to be seen how many of these festivals would remain playing.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered seven editions of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and several of Dubai's.)
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Prakash Raj is the latest addition to the cast of Mani Ratnam's ambitious period drama Ponniyin Selvan. The two first worked together in Iruvar in 1997.
- Priyanka Chopra has shared Jungle Mantra, an original song from the White Tiger soundtrack, by Divine, featuring Vince Staples and Pusha T. Listen here.
- Kavita Kaushik took a dig at Rubina Dilaik while saying that she deserves to win the Bigg Boss 14 trophy. Earlier, Kavita walked out of the show after a nasty fight with Rubina.
- Filmmaker-actor Divya Khosla Kumar has spoken about her journey, and how she didn't want to join the film industry when she first moved to Mumbai.
- Twinkle Khanna shared a review of Tandav, which said that Dimple Kapadia 'upstaged' her co-star Saif Ali Khan. While Twinkle praised Saif's performance as well, she said that 'mama bear is still the best'.
- Actor Rajkummar Rao isn't over his obsession with Shah Rukh Khan. He has often spoken about his love for SRK.
- Sidharth Shukla watched the first three episodes of Tandav and praised the show. He also gave a shout-out to Gauahar Khan and said that he loved her performance.
- As actors Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan prepare to move into their house, their designer gave an insight into all the amenities the new home will have.
- Did you know that Pranutan Bahl and Kajol are related? Here's what the young actor has to say about her equation with 'Kajol bua'.
- Taimur Ali Khan was fascinated by a cow outside his Fortune Heights residence. He folded his hands and enjoyed its owner playing film songs on his wind instrument.