Arab Spring central theme of Abu Dhabi Film Festival

Ahram Online, Sunday 16 Oct 2011

This year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival will feature documentaries and discussions on the popular uprisings currently sweeping the Arab World

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which opened on Thursday, 13 October, has given special attention to the wave of popular uprisings currently sweeping the Arab world, according to German news agency DPA.

Festival head Peter Scarlet announced that Monday would be devoted specifically to discussions about what has been dubbed the “Arab Spring,” its influence on contemporary Arab cinema, and how Arab filmmakers were adjusting to sweeping political changes in the region.

“Filmmakers from the Middle East will be holding a session for discussion that raises questions about the current political and social instability, how production needs have changed, and whether new artistic forms are now required,” said Scarlet.

The discussions will coincide with a screening of the film ‘Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad and the Politician,’ which Scarlet described as “one of the best films about the Egyptian revolution.”

The movie was directed by three filmmakers, each of whom examines Egypt’s recent revolution from a different perspective. While Tamer Ezzat focuses on the revolutionaries and their activities, Ayten Amin speaks to policemen, many of whom had participated in attacks on protesters during the uprising. Amr Salama, meanwhile, adopts a comic approach, explaining, “How to become a dictator in ten easy steps.”

The collaborative film ‘18 days,’ to which ten different filmmakers contributed, will also be screened.

According to Scarlet, this year’s festival will feature a number of impressive documentary films, including Mohamed El-Doragi’s ‘Fi Ahdan Omy’ (‘In the Arms of My Mother’), which tells the story of a man who opens an orphanage in Baghdad and his difficult struggle to maintain it.

Other documentary films to be featured at the festival include one from the Netherlands that tells the story of a poor Indonesian family, and another about a box found in Stockholm containing rare footage of the 1960s-era Black Panther movement in the United States.

The festival will screen a total of 200 feature-length films, along with film documentaries from 40 different countries.

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