Abu Dhabi draws top MidEast films

Seven films from region to premiere

Abu Dhabi’s second Middle East Film Festival will preem seven pics from across the Arab world as part of its international competition.

Preems are Magdi Ahmed Ali’s “Fawzia: A Special Blend” and Amr Salama’s “On a Day Like Today,” both from Egypt; Syrian helmer Remon Butros’ “Haseeba”; Lebanese helmer Samir Habchi’s “Beirut Open City”; Moroccan helmer Mohammed al Sharif al Taribeq’s “Time of Comrades”; and Emirati filmmaker Saleh Karama’s “Henna.”

Egyptian helmer Mohammed Kamel al Kaliouby’s documentary “Bid You Farewell” will bow in the competition for docs.

Palestinian helmer Rashid Masharawi’s “Laila’s Birthday” receives its Middle Eastern preem. Pic, which also played at Toronto and has been selected by Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival and the London film fest, is a wry comedy about a judge forced to work as a taxi driver in the Palestinian territories because bureaucracy has kept him from gaining his papers.

The fest, which unspools Oct. 10-19, offers more than $1 million in prize money at its Black Pearl Awards.