Sunday, October 27, 2013

American actor, producer and director Forest Whitaker on the red carpet at Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2013 on 24th October 2013. Photo by Thomson George/Manipal Dubai Blog

The fantastical world of film came alive in the nation's capital as the opening night of the 7th Abu Dhabi FilmFestival at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi laid out the red carpet for international, regional celebrities and local talent on Thursday, 24th October 2013. 

Among them, the red carpet was graced by Jerôme Lambert-CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre and lead actress of ForThose Who Can Tell No Tales, Kym Vercoe. Cameron Bailey, Ahmed Rachedi, Hiam Abbass, Jacki Weaver and Khaled Abol Naga (president of the first-time Child Protection Award jury) were introduced as the Jury presidents of the Documentary Competition, EFC Competition, New Horizons Competition and CPA respectively. 

The stars of the evening were acclaimed actors and celebrities extraordinaire Hiam Abbass and Forest Whitaker – recipients of the the Career Achievement Awards at this year’s edition.

American actor, producer and director Forest Whitaker was honored with the career achievement award by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Jerome Lambert following a presentation of Whitaker’s selected works. Audiences witnessed Whitaker's dynamic contributions in the field of movie business for almost three decades.

In an interview, Whitaker said, “I keep trying to find characters that make me learn and expand my understanding of myself and the human condition.”

The much awaited opening night film Life ofCrime was also introduced by director Daniel Schechter, producer Ashok Amritraj and Image Nation CEO Michael Gartin to an enthusiastic audience.

Powered by twofour54, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF)  is presented each October to help create a vibrant film culture throughout the region of Abu Dhabi, mainly focusing on promoting Arab cinemas and the rising and established talent from around the world. 

Film makers from all over the world especially the GCC countries, working in a variety of different genres and styles, feature in the competition. For the first time in the history of the ADFF competition includes a musical titled, FRESHMAN directed by Deena Stevens. Through song and dance the film tells about students at their first day at university.

Ali Al Jabri, Director of ADFF said, “The Abu Dhabi Film Festival is not only about bringing the best of international cinema to the UAE. It’s about showing the world the best of Emirati cinema. The entrants in this year’s Emirates Film Competition have most certainly earned their place on the international stage,"

"At the same time we are seeing a growing number of UAE co-productions. International collaborations can help take Emirati storytellers to tell their story to a global audience. It is often at Festivals that international collaborators meet, and encounter one another’s work, and that is an important part of a Film Festival contribution to building a cinema culture.”

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) will last for following two weeks leaving audiences to enjoy over 100 films to choose from at this year's edition. Film buff or not, everyone is invited to be a part of the celebration. For more details log on to

By Thomson George

The writer is a final year undergrad Media & Communication specializing in Television & Video Production