The closing ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival took place on Thursday 31 October, featuring the winners of their many submission categories.
The festival takes place every year, showcasing creative works from all over the world, covering both documentaries and feature films.
According to their website: “The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), powered by twofour54, is presented each October to help create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. With a focus on Arab cinema and the wealth of emerging and established film talent from around the world, ADFF has become one of the most anticipated cultural events in Abu Dhabi, helping to enhance the Emirate as a hub of creativity.”
One of the winning Egyptian films was Villa 69, which premiered at the festival, by director Ayten Amin and featuring the talents of actor Khaled Abol Naga.
The film discusses the character of Hussein, an architect battling a terminal illness. A surprise visit by his sister and her grandson prompts him to ponder his life choices and the type of existence he is leading. Abol Naga is joined by actresses Lebleba, Arwa Gouda and Youssra El Hawary. The film received the Special Jury Award for a Film from the Arab World, which includes a sum of $25,000. The award was part of the New Horizons Competition which “focuses on the work of first- and second-time directors from around the world, featuring fresh styles and challenging ideas in narrative films.”
In the documentary section 14 films competed for five possible awards decided upon by a jury led by Canadian director Cameron Bailey.
In this section the Egyptian film Cairo Drive won Best Film from the Arab World, which includes a sum of $50,000. The documentary is directed by Sherief Elkatsha. The film was shot between 2009 and 2012 and documents the country’s journey from before the 25 January Revolution up until the presidential elections. Elkatsha interviewed a wide array of people, whose jobs rely on navigating the daily traffic of the populated city, including taxi drivers, traffic police and ambulance drivers. In the film Elkatsha discusses serious topics such as life and death, and the pains of living in a country with no rules.
More information about the awards and festival can be found on their website.