META film fest returns for second edition

Emphasising local talent, the festival will host 38 UAE premieres and spotlight regional stories with 30 Arabic films.

The second edition of the META Film Fest is set to take place at VOX Cinemas, Wafi City, from November 9-12, 2023. The four-day festival promises to be a celebration of world cinema with an impressive lineup of films, an esteemed international jury, and a host of special events tailored for film enthusiasts.

The festival will showcase 95 films from 32 countries, with 29 films as special festival premieres, while the remaining 66 films will compete for various prizes in categories of Feature, Short, Documentary and Student films. There has been a substantial increase in the number of Arabic titles in this year’s festival, with 30 Arabic films included in the lineup.

Two Arabic titles from Kuwait, Akh with its world premiere and How I Got There with its UAE premiere, are among the Feature film competition category.  Other notable entries include the Turkish film Black Night, directed by Özcan Alper, Bodyguard from Kazakhstan and directed by Akan Satayev, and the French film Our Ties, directed by Roschdy Zem and Turkish film Snow and the Bear. Several films, such as Sons of Ramses, a French film directed by Clement Cogitore, No End, a Persian film directed by Nader Saeivar, Jananam 1947 Pranayam Thudarunnu, a Malayalam film directed by Abijith Asokan, will have their official world premiere at the META Film Fest.

The Persian feature film Endless Borders, directed by Abbas Amini will be the fesival’s opening film, while Spanish feature film Virginal Pink, directed by Dennis Smith, will be the closing film. The screening will be Virginal Pink’s  world premiere also.

META Film Fest will also see over 25 Short Films, with entries such as Fatih the Conqueror, the Turkish film directed by Onur Yagiz, Beneath a Mother’s Feet, a Arabic film directed by Hassan Saeed, And Me, I’m Dancing Too, a Persian film directed by Mohammad Valizadegan and Palestine 87, competing.

Fifteen documentary films will be screened as well, including Dear Memories, a German film directed by Nahuel Lopez and Earthbound: Nzambi Matee, a Japanese film directed by Farhoud Meybodi which will be screened in English and Swahili,

The festival further includes a Student category for young talent to showcase their skills. This year six  films competing for an award at the fest.

In addition to the competition screenings, META Film Fest will host special premieres of notable films such as, May December and Seven Winters in Tehran.

Another highlight of the event is the Indian Film Festival, which will see the likes of Holy Conspiracy, a Bengali film that adapts the American play Inherit the Wind, among the nominated films. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, a Indian English-Hindi bilingual feature film directed by Jabbar Patel, will also be screened.

META Film Fest will host a total of 14 world premieres, offering audiences exclusive first views of global cinema. Additionally, the festival features 28 regional premieres, introducing films previously unseen in the Middle East. Emphasising local talent, there are 38 UAE premieres, and a spotlight on regional stories with 30 Arabic films.

In addition to screenings, the festival will also offer an array of engaging panels, workshops, and masterclasses. A Women in Cinema panel discussion and Expat Connections: Exploring Cultural Intersection in UAE Cinema are highlights of the schedule. Masterclass topics include AI in the Film Industry led by Pooyan Sedghi and a masterclass on the business and the legal side of movie production led by Nancy Paton, Desert Rose Films and President of WIFTGCC.

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