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Middle East Int Film Fest to premiere key Arabic films

The Middle East International Film Festival will premiere some of the most important Arabic films of the season

Abu Dhabi: Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Vice Chairman of the Middle East International Film Festival, has announced that the second year of the festival will premiere seven films from the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Syria. These films, to be shown in the International Competition Feature Film and Documentary sections, are some of the most important recent Arabic films. Premiering alongside the seven films is a Palestinian film that will see its long-awaited release in the Middle East.

Executive Director, Nashwa Al Ruwaini announced that the Arabic films taking part in the International Competition Feature Films section of MEIFF would be ‘Fawzia: A Special Blend’ directed by Magdi Ahmed Ali from Egypt, ‘On a Day Like Today’ directed by Amr Salama from Egypt, ‘Haseeba’ directed by Remon Butros from Syria, ‘Beirut Open City’ directed by Samir Habashi from Lebanon, ‘Time of Comrades’ directed by Mohammed Alsharif Al Taribeq from Morocco, ‘Henna’ directed by UAE national Saleh Karama. The Egyptian documentary ‘Bid you Farewell’ directed by Mohammed Kamel El Kaliouby will premiere as part of the International Competition Documentary section of the festival.

Premiering in the Middle East is the Palestinian film ‘Laila’s Birthday’ by Palestinian filmmaker Rashid Masharawi. The film, about a father who tries his best to overcome the daily chaos in Palestine to make his daughter’s birthday memorable, is set to show at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain.

Nashwa Al Ruwaini, also announced that the second edition of the festival, held in Abu Dhabi from October 10-19, will see major Arab stars attending the festival in support of their films. Among them will be Syrian actress Sulaf Fawakherji from ‘Haseeba’, Egyptian actresses Elham Shaheen, Ghada Abdel Razaq and Hala Sadqi and actors Fathi Abdel Wahab and Ezzat Abu Ouf from ‘Khalta Fawziya’, Lebanese actress Serene Abdel Noor and Egyptian actor Khaled Al Nabawi from ‘Smoke without Fire’, and the world-renowned Palestinian stars Mohammed Bakri and Areen Omari from ‘Laila’s Birthday’ alongside a slew of new and rising faces like Egyptian actors Basma and Ahmed Al Fishawi and Asser Yassin from ‘Zay Al Naharda.’

Arabic programmer for MEIFF and acclaimed Egyptian journalist Samir Farid commented, “We are extremely impressed with this year’s selection of films from the Arab world and are honoured to have a number of world and regional premiers screening during our festival”.

MEIFF is an annual event and a project of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH). The festival is a cultural event dedicated to bringing a diverse slate of international films and programs to the community and introducing filmmakers from around the world to the resources of the region.

This year’s MEIFF will see several new additions to an already exciting schedule. For the first time, there will be a section of the festival concentrating on Environmental Films as well as a showcase of 16 hours of documentaries highlighting the 60 years since the division of Palestine. The prestigious Black Pearl Awards will also return in the second edition with the total prize money now exceeding $1 million in cash in the categories of fiction, documentary, animation, shorts, student films and animation.

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