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Abu Dhabi lineup of Gala evening screenings

The lineup of Gala evening screenings was announced today for the third Middle East International Film Festival to be held October 8-17 in Abu Dhabi. Among the festival’s highest-profile offerings, these nine films include, in the words of the Festival’s Executive Director Peter Scarlet, ‘’far more than the minimum daily requirement of big-names – in the cast, or behind the camera, and on the Festival’s red carpet.”

The Festival’s Centerpiece offering will be the World Premiere of the extraordinary underwater documentary OCEANS, directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, the masterly pair behind MICROCOSMOS. Closing Night will be THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, Grant Heslov’s hilarious dark comedy which stars George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey. The Opening Night selection, the Egyptian film THE TRAVELER (EL MOSAFER) was announced earlier this week.

All of MEIFF ‘s Gala screenings will be held in the Auditorium of the Emirates Palace Hotel , with some of them receiving second screenings at Cinestar Cinemas at Marina Mall.

A complete list of all the films selected for this year’s Gala Screenings follows:
Blue by Anthony D'Souza, India 2009 (WORLD PREMIERE)
Bollywood’s first underwater thriller hits Abu Dhabi in Anthony D’Souza’s hyper-charged remake of The Deep. Three friends seek a sunken treasure surrounded by deadly sharks – and deadlier humans. A megastar-studded cast includes Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, and former Miss Universe Lara Dutta. Music by A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) and Kylie Minogue.

Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
Michael Moore returns to examine the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans. Using his trademark sardonic humor, Moore asks what price America must pay for its love of capitalism.

The Informant! by Steven Soderbergh, USA 2009, (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
A biochemist exposes his company’s role in an international price-fixing conspiracy in this black comedy – based on a true story. Matt Damon gives a stellar performance in one of Soderbergh’s finest and funniest works.

The Men Who Stare at Goats by Grant Heslov, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) – CLOSING NIGHT
In this quirky dark comedy inspired by a real-life story, astonishing revelations about a top-secret wing of the U.S. military come to light. “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers that can kill a goat simply by staring at it, but the program’s founder has gone missing. George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey star.

The Messenger by Oren Moverman, USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
Ben Foster is an Iraq War veteran who faces the emotional minefield of civilians dealing with the death of a loved one in this refreshing perspective on the casualties of war. Oren Moverman (screenwriter of I'm Not There) makes a confident directorial debut with this poignant story which also stars Woody Harrelson.

Oceans (Océans) by Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud France 2009 (WORLD PREMIERE) – CENTERPIECE SCREENING
The team behind Winged Migration and Microcosmos return with their most breathtaking work to date, a trip across and through the oceans themselves. The use of the latest High-Definition cameras allows viewers to see the sea and its astonishing inhabitants in ways never before possible.

Scheherazade, Tell Me A Story (Ehky ya Schahrazad) by Yousry Nasrallah, Egypt 2009 (GULF PREMIERE)
Borrowing the stories-within-stories framework of Arabian Nights, this taboo-breaking film scandalized Egypt with its risky portrait of female sexual desire and male-female relationships. Mona Zaki stars as a TV hostess whose successful career raises issues for her husband.

Shorts by Robert Rodriguez, United Arab Emirates/USA 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE)
A nerdy, picked-on boy’s life changes when a rainbow-colored rock falls from the sky that grants all wishes to anyone who holds it, in this out-of-control kid’s film by the director of Spy Kids, with William H. Macy and James Spader.

The Traveler (Al Mosafer) by Ahmed Maher, Egypt 2009 (MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE) – OPENING NIGHT
Set against the backdrop of key moments in Egypt’s recent history makes it impossible not to see this enormously impressive debut as a moving meditation on a man’s fumbling search for his identity, a search which comes to reflect that of his nation.


Tickets go on sale September 28, and can be purchased online at or in person every day from noon to 10 pm at any of the four festival box offices. Box offices are located at Emirates Palace Hotel at the main entrance lobby and on the auditorium level, Cinestar Cinemas in Marina Mall and Grand Cinemas in Abu Dhabi Mall. Additional festival events will take place at the MEIFF Festival Tent on the main terrace behind Emirates Palace Hotel. The Festival Tent is open daily to the public throughout the festival from noon to 2am.

General Screenings: AED 20
Gala Screenings at Emirates Palace Hotel: AED 30
Students and Seniors (65 and over): AED 10 (ID required)
Package of 10 vouchers: AED 150 (Vouchers are good for all screenings, except opening and closing night galas, which are by invitation only)
Festival Pass: AED 200 (Good for all screenings, except opening and closing night galas, which are by invitation only)
From October 9 to 11, Abu Dhabi Film Commission presents The Circle Conference 2009, a development initiative aimed at creating new filmmaking opportunities in the Middle East. The Circle Conference brings together top producers, financiers, executives and filmmakers from around the world.
The international entertainment community comes to Abu Dhabi to share their knowledge through events such as Panel Discussions, Master Classes, Collaboration Lunches and the Shasha Grant Pitch Competition.
The Circle Conference 2009 is presented in partnership with Imagenation Abu Dhabi.
The Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) was established in 2007 by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), which presents MEIFF each October in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. MEIFF seeks to affirm the key place Abu Dhabi holds as an emerging cultural center and to foster the growth of its local film community. It celebrates cinema in all its forms by creating a vibrant forum for storytellers from the Middle East and around the world.

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) is the institution in charge of conserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi. Established in October 2005 as an authority of the Government of Abu Dhabi, it is administered by a board of directors chaired by H. E. Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan.

The full program for the Middle East International Film Festival will be announced shortly.

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