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Al Ain Film Festival announces 378 movies at third edition

With events season back in full swing, the Al Ain Film Festival has announced a roster of 378 movies that will feature at this year’s event, which will run from January 23 until 27.

The third edition of the event will operate under the theme of ‘Future of Cinema’, with an initiative to support local and Gulf filmmakers by implementing new initiatives, various programmes, shows and agreements to promote talents in the region.

This year’s opening film is ‘You Will Die At 20’, which is Sudan’s official entry to the Oscars.

According to organisers, the exceptional circumstances imposed by the pandemic and the repercussions of COVID-19 on the world have not prevented filmmakers from participating with more than 378 films sent as entries.

From fiction and documentary, long and short, films across genres will compete with each other for prizes in the official competitions: the Falcon Emriati Film, the Falcon Gulf Feature Film, the Falcon Gulf Feature Short Film, the Falcon Student Films, the Falcon Resident Films, and the special competition of the third Edition of the festival ‘Filming in The Time of Corona’.

Europe in focus

Amer Salmeen Al Marri, Founder and Director General of the Festival, revealed a special segment of the festival will focus on European films that have met with success at international film festivals. Through its summer programme, held on weekends, the festival will continue to screen a group of European films, with each week devoted to a specific country, in addition to organising workshops by filmmakers.

Fareed Ramadhan Award

This year, the ‘Fareed Ramadhan’ award for the best screenplay for a Gulf feature film, is one of the new initiatives launched this year, which is intended to encourage scriptwriters and their works, as well as honour the spirit of the late Bahraini writer and screenwriter, Fareed Ramadhan, who had a prominent presence in the First and the Second Editions of the Festival.

Abu Dhabi Festival works

In a collaborative effort with the Abu Dhabi Festival, the organisers also announced a new initiative at this year’s event, calling it the ‘Abu Dhabi Festival Unproduced Screenplay’.

Targeting young Emirati scriptwriters, the competition aims to create a new generation of talent that can enrich local content with fresh unique topics presented to cinema. Three prizes have been allocated to this purpose: best three screenplays (short film), at a value of Dh20,000. Winners will be announced in June 2021 after a selection processes that will be conducted by a special jury for this competition, consisting of a group of Arab filmmakers and scriptwriters.

Artist achievements

A new edition to the festival and a part of ‘Honouring Artists’ Achievements’ programme, will see a group of art professionals who will be honoured, for their contribution to the world of film. These include Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan, Emirati director Nujoom Al-Ghanem, and the late Bahraini writer and screenwriter Fareed Ramadhan.

Competitions and surprises

Winners will be announced who participated in the competition, ‘Filming in the Time of Corona’. The competition gave filmmakers an opportunity to benefit from the quarantine by filming a short film, with a duration of 3 to 15 minutes, based on day in the life in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition that was announced in the summer of 2020 with two awards allocated: the first for the best film and the second for the best idea.