Abu Dhabi Film Festival

On the 24th of October, Abu Dhabi Film Festival opened its doors to the public once more to begin their screening of a selection of films from all over the world, nine of which were by Arabic film makers.


The seventh annual year that ADFF has been running started with an intense opening night. Noted guests arrived via the red carpet and entered the Palace Hotel cinema for its opening film: Life of Crime by director Daniel Schechter. One of the main characters, Mark Boone Junior, also made an appearance on stage along with Daniel Schechter at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival where he was showered in compliments for his performance.

Following Mark Boone Junior was Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, who did not show in the movie Life of Crime, but did win the Career Achievement Award for his excellent performances in movies such as Out of the Furnace, The Butler and Repo Man. Forest Whitaker began his speech by announcing “I am honored to be here”, and continued by singing a Sura from the Holy Qur’an.

The second person to win the Career Achievement Award was Hiam Abbass, who unfortunately did not make it to the opening evening but is famous for movies such as Every Day Is A Holiday, Inheritance and The Source.

The award categories for ADFF were separated into: Narrative Feature; New Horizons; Documentary Feature; Short Film; Emirates Film, and Child Protection Award.

Each Category had a panel of judges made up of five people: one president and four jurors. The presidents were Jackie Weaver, Yesmin Ustaglu, Cameron Bailey, Mohamad Malas, Ahmed Rachedi and Khaled Abol Naga.

The movie Life of Crime seemed a success amongst those invited. The buzz outside the cinema doors were ablaze and comments such as “Great movie” and “Jennifer Aniston did a great job” could easily be overheard. The film Life of Crime is an adaption of a book by famous novelist Elmore Leonard, which is a story that takes Stockholm Syndrome into an awry direction. Set in 1978, it stars two small town thieves who see an opportunity to get a million dollars by kidnapping Mickey (Jennifer Aniston) in order to extort money from her husband. Drama ensues and not everything goes according to plan. The movie was comical with dramatic undertones.

The opening night party after the film was an impressive sight to see. Purple and blue lights were cast over one of the many Palace Hotel gardens and food as well as entertainment was in abundance for the guests. Many of the guests were not sure which was better, the movie or the party, though all agreed that it was a fantastic night and ADFF had a very successful event on their hands.
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