MEIFF 2008 opens tomorrow- Glittering Hollywood, Arab and Bollywood personalities attend red carpet & exclusive opening night screening

Published October 10th, 2008 - 06:54 GMT

More than 130 films from 35 countries will be screened at the second edition of the Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF), organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and being held over an expanded ten enthralling days from 10th to 19th October 2008 in Abu Dhabi.

“MEIFF has positioned itself as one of the most important regional cinema events in a relatively short span of time,” said MEIFF’s Vice Chairman and ADACH’s Director General His Excellency Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, “We believe this year’s festival differentiates itself from others with its unique programme of film initiatives, aimed at establishing the nation’s capital as a centre of excellence for filmmaking and development.”

The depth and breadth of expanded and new programming sections highlight the boost of vitality MEIFF has injected into the burgeoning regional film scene - with a Palestinian retrospective by non-Arab directors (aimed at emphasising the international aspect of the Palestinian cause), a dedicated Environmental programme, a focus on Arab Women Directors and the ‘Festival of Festivals’ - where 24 of the best films on this year’s festival circuit have been hand-picked for MEIFF audiences.





MEIFF has notably captured the attention of the global film industry and heralded its arrival with style, with the world’s most impressive film competition – the prestigious Black Pearl Awards, with an award fund worth more than US$1 million.

More than 60 films from 32 countries will compete in several different categories for the Black Pearl Awards, with the winning films announced at the closing Gala Ceremony to be held on the 19th of October.

MEIFF 2008 will also host several panels, seminars and a Research Circle to discuss ‘The Film Industry in the Arab World’, and will pay special tribute to significant contributors to the Arab cinema industry such as Nacer Khemir and the late Youssef Chahine.

In conjunction with CINEMA VÉRITÉ a two-day panel discussion programme to raise awareness about social and humanitarian issues will feature Catherine Deneuve speaking on Lebanon, and a ‘Spotlight on Women’ with Susan Sarandon.  The MEIFF / CINEMA VÉRITÉ programme will culminate in a tribute ceremony presenting Jane Fonda with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

This festival’s opening and closing ceremonies will be directed and choreographed by Otis Sallid for the second year in a row, bringing the cinema world to life through dance and honouring the culture and heritage of MEIFF’s home – Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

A 24/7 dedicated MEIFF TV station has been inaugurated for this year’s festival, broadcasting live the opening and closing ceremonies and red carpet events.  The channel will also feature exclusive interviews with celebrities, filmmakers, producers, directors and special guests throughout the festival.




“By creating MEIFF TV we are providing access to everyone in the region to join in the excitement, glamour and passion of this year’s festival. Broadcasting 24 hours a day on Arabsat (Frequency 11804 horizontal, symbol rate 27500) and Nilesat (Frequency 11919 horizontal, symbol rate 27500) we’ll give viewers a unique ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the workings of the festival,” said MEIFF’s Director, Nashwa Al Ruwaini.

A celebration of cinema, dedicated to bringing a diverse programme of international films to the UAE’s unique multicultural community, MEIFF 2008 will open on Friday 10th October with an exclusive screening of The Brothers Bloom by Director Rian Johnson at the Emirates Palace.

A firm favourite of the recent Toronto Film Festival, this marks the film’s debut to a Middle East audience. The film’s star, Academy Award winner™ Adrien Brody, will grace the MEIFF 2008 red carpet, along with fellow international luminaries Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. Well-known Bollywood star and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra, has also just confirmed her stellar appearance for MEIFF’s opening night.

The glittering stars of the Gulf and Arab film world will accompany them on the beachfront red carpet, including Emirati’s Samira Ahmed, Ahmed Al Jasmi, Bilal Abdallah, Dr Habib Ghuloum and Ashjan. They’ll be joined by Solaf Fawakhirji, Haifa Hussain, Abdul Hussain Abdul Rida, Dawood Hussain, Yosra, Elham Shaheen, Duraid Lahham and Hussein Fahmy.






The overhead twinkle of the Arabian sky will also be competing with the red carpet sparkle of Saad Al Faraj, Kahled Saleh, Jamal Soliman, Sherif Munir, Hala Sedki, Fathi Abdel Wahab, Latifa, Saloom Haddad, Libliba, Khaled El Nabawy, Safeya Al Emary and Mohamed Heneidi.

Ruwaini continues: “We are confident we have created a truly distinguished, thought-provoking and highly entertaining festival. MEIFF 2008 combines all the elements of success – and we believe it is now firmly placed on the international circuit as a destination which embodies the aspirations for the future of the regional and global film industry.

“We would like to thank our valued sponsors in advance for their enlightened support of MEIFF 2008 - MBC 2, Abu Dhabi Media Company, City7 TV, WHAT’S ON Magazine, VARIETY Magazine, Rotana Magazine and Etihad Airways – and invite you to join us for ten days of exhilarating, educational and inspirational film festival fun.”


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