MEIFF broadens its horizons

Sector to focus on first, second-time directors

Abu Dhabi’s Middle East Film Festival is adding to its roster the Afaq Jadida (New Horizons) Competition for fiction and nonfiction films by first- and second-time directors.

It will focus on the work of new talent from the Arab world and internationally.

Films will vie for MEIFF’s Black Pearl awards for narrative film, narrative film from the Arab world, documentary and documentary from the Arab world, each with a $100,000 cash prize.

The new competition joins the existing narrative and docu competitions for features at the fest, which runs Oct. 14-23.

Each competition will be judged by its own jury.

“During my travel with colleagues as we set out to assemble a program of new films, we had many opportunities to meet young filmmakers,” said MEIFF executive director Peter Scarlet. “It seemed to us that creating a separate competition for these bright new voices would offer them more exposure and further the aim of the festival to be a place of discovery of exciting new voices.”

MEIFF 2010 will also present two separate competitive sections devoted to short films and another competition focused on work by filmmakers from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.

Additionally, a Showcase section offers a glimpse of important films from around the world, with some of the best contending for the Black Pearl audience choice award.

As in previous years, MEIFF’s Black Pearl prize money totals $1 million.

Films devoted to broadening public awareness of environmental issues are presented in a sidebar called “What in the World Are We Doing to Our World?”

Finally, a Special Programs section includes restorations and rediscoveries, as well as presentations devoted to exciting new developments and trends in filmmaking.

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