Abu Dhabi Film Festival kicks off

The 8th edition of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) began at the Emirates Palace here.

The film festival, which started Thursday evening, will continue until Nov 1 with plans to screen 194 films from 61 countries, including nine feature-length world premieres.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates’ minister for culture, youth and community development, attended the opening ceremony.

The film festival started with a domestic film, showing Ali Mustafa’s film “From A To B” in the slot usually reserved for big budget Hollywood films. Ali Mustafa’s film is the first Emirati feature to open the festival in its near-decade of operation.

For festival director Ali Al Jabri, Thursday night was only the beginning. “It’s not so much change, as it is trying to bring something new. This year, what’s new is opening with an Emirati film,” he said.

Attending the festival were Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Nora Al Kaabi, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Media Free Zone ‘Twofour 54’, the granddaughter of film legend Charlie Chaplin, Carmen Chaplin, and other stars of the cinema.

French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb and American producer Edward Pressman were presented with the ADFF’s Career Achievement Awards during the opening ceremony.