Amer Salmeen Al Murry, founder and director-general of the festival, has announced new initiatives and programmes for the fourth edition.
The Al Ain Film Festival will hold its fourth edition in Al Ain between January 23 and 27 under the slogan “Future Cinema”.
The event will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, member of the Executive Council, and in the presence of Sheikh Dr Saeed bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.
The festival will display the most prominent local, GCC, Arab and international films, including exclusive shows on Al Ain city cinema screens.
During a press conference, the organisers announced a number of initiatives, various programmes and agreements in the service of the “7th art” in the UAE. The conference was attended by Amer Salmeen Al Murry, founder and general manager of the festival, Saeed Salmeen, art director of the World Cinema Programme, Ivan Khadir, Operation manager, and Sultan Amer, CEO of the organising company Cinema Vision Films.
Amer Salmeen stated that Al Ain Film Festival will remain the most prominent platform for celebrating filmmakers in the region, including veterans and young talents, after the remarkable success achieved by the festival during the past three years, despite the crisis of the Corona pandemic. However, the festival was able to prove its presence and continuity and to attract the most distinguished Arab and European films, some of which were Oscars 2021 nominated, such as Algerian film Heliopolis, Egyptian film When We Are Born and the Tunisian film The Man Who Sold His Back, in addition to technical agreements and initiatives aimed at to support Emirati filmmakers.
Al-Murry pointed out that this year’s edition includes different films in the festival’s various competitions, especially the “Falcon Gulf Feature Film” competition, which competes for its grand prize with four Emirati films and three GCC films.
He stated that this year’s edition has attracted a number of distinguished films, which have been carefully selected for cinema lovers. The official festival competitions will feature 47 films, in which there are 15 films in the “Falcon Emirati Short Film”.
The director-general of the festival revealed a new initiative that sheds light on the most prominent productions of short Emirati films that deserve to be shown within the “Classic Corner” because of the purposeful ideas it contains, and most of them were the real breakthrough for their filmmakers in the world of directing, including Sabeel by Khaled Mahmoud, Bint Mariam by Saeed Salmeen, Tenbak by Abdullah Hassan Ahmed, and Door by Walid Al-Shehhi.
The goal of the “Classic Corner” is to showcase local short films that have won key prizes in a range of festivals, and to act as an educational platform for the next generation of filmmakers.
Al-Murry stated that the “Encyclopedia of Emirati Cinema” will be launched in the fourth edition, which is an archival book that includes the history and stages of cinema development in the Emirates, its journey and achievements over the past 50 years, starting with the establishment of the first theatres and famous old cinema venues, the development of cinemas in the Emirates, and the beginnings of film production in the UAE and its development, with the aim of making the encyclopaedia as a reference for researchers, specialists, creators, students and all filmmakers.
Saeed Salmeen pointed out during the conference that a group of films were selected within the “World Cinema” programme that participated in the prominent festivals in the world and won multiple awards, some of which were nominated by their countries to the Oscars, including Feathers by Egyptian director Omar Al-Zuhairi, El-Set by Sudanese director Suzanne Marghani, and The Present by Palestinian director Farah Nabulsi.
A number of artists will also be honoured at this edition including Kuwaiti producer, writer and director Khaled Al-Siddiq, Emirati producer and actor Sultan Al Neyadi, and Emirati art, and film critic Tariq Al-Shennawi.
The festival organisers have also collaborated with the Abu Dhabi Festival to launch the “Abu Dhabi Festival Unproduced Screenplay” competition.
Al-Murry stated: “We are pleased with this partnership through which this initiative targets young Emirati talents, to create a new generation of writers who can enrich the local content with new topics presented to the cinema. The director-general of the Al Ain Film Festival thanked the organisers of the Abu Dhabi Festival, which is considered one of the most prominent festivals that effectively contributes to enrich the cultural scene in the region, for this fruitful cooperation that aims to create a unique creative case by focusing on young talents, explaining that the fruits of this cooperation will appear in this year’s edition, by showing the films that won the competition in the third edition of the Al Ain Film Festival.”
Huda Ibrahim Al-Khamis, founder of the Abu Dhabi Group for Culture and Arts, founder and art director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, added: “The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) is pleased to continue to partner with the Al Ain Film Festival for the second year in support of the development of the UAE film industry. Throughout our 25 years, ADMAF has actively served the UAE’s creative youth to nurture and encourage them to succeed. In our ongoing endeavours to nurture cinema in the UAE, our collaboration with the Al Ain Film Festival supports and cultivates emerging filmmakers in the Emirates through professional development programmes in screenwriting, directing, producing and acting. ADMAF also recognised excellence with awards for screenwriting at last year’s Al Ain Film Festival, and we look forward with great enthusiasm to support these efforts.”
Al-Murry concluded that the fourth edition of the festival, which will be held in Al Ain City, will adhere to all the precautionary measures of Covid-19 followed in the country, in order to ensure public safety.