Abu Dhabi Film Fest Honors Ed Pressman, Rachid Bouchareb

Two Men in Town Review

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival will fete prolific U.S. producer Edward Pressman and French/Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb with lifetime achievement awards during its opening ceremony tonight.

Also at the festival, Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar will be presented with the Variety Arab Filmmaker of the Year Award at a ceremony on Oct. 27.

Born in Oxford and educated in Jordan and the U.K., Nowar’s first feature “Theeb” is an intimate epic with Western overtones set in a Bedouin community with real Bebouins as actors. “Theeb” recently scooped the director nod in the Venice Film Festival’s Horizons section. Pic, which will launch into the Middle East from Abu Dhabi, has been supported by Abu Dhabi’s Sanad fund in development and post.

Ed Pressman has produced more than fifty films in the U.S., including “City Hall,” “Wall Street” and “Bad Lieutenant.” Pressmman has also worked with international directors outside the U.S. such as Wolfgang Petersen, the Taviani brothers, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Zhang Yimou and Werner Herzog. Abu Dhabi Film Festival director Ali Al Jabri praised the venerable veteran producer in a statement “for fostering the careers of the young and inspired.”

Bouchareb’s latest film, New Mexico-set “Two Men in Town” (pictured) about a Muslim ex-con (Forest Whitaker) who befriends his parole officer (Brenda Blethyn) is expected to have special resonance in Abu Dhabi, where it will screen in the ADFF Showcase section, after bowing in Berlin. The script, written with Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul, is “about the Arab world and what makes a man become a terrorist,” Abu Dhabi chief programmer Teresa Cavina said in a recent interview with Variety.

Bouchareb, whose previous pics include “Dust of Life” (1995), “Days of Glory” (2006) and “Outside the Law” (2010) in which he explored the complex relationships between France and its former colonies, will hold an onstage conversation at the fest on October 24 about his career as both a director and a producer.

The 8th edition of the Abu Dhabi fest runs through Nov. 1

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