‘Secretariat’ in race at Abu Dhabi

Some 70 films will vie for Black Pearl awards

Randall Wallace’s “Secretariat” will open the fourth Abu Dhabi Film Festival on Oct. 14, and Tsui Hark’s “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” will close it on Oct. 23, the organizers announced on Monday.

In between, 70 films (including 12 world premieres) from 28 countries will vye for the Black Pearl awards that carry a total of $1 million in prize money in six competitions — narrative feature, documentaries, shorts, the Emirates section for local filmmakers, Showcase for recent international pics and the newly added New Horizon for works from first and second-time directors.

Highlights in the narrative feature competition include Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go,” Julian Schnabel’s “Miral,” Francois Ozon’s “Potiche,” Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos,” Bahij Hojeij’s “Here Comes the Rain” and Nidal Aldibs’ “Taming.”

Of 11 international films in Showcase there are gala screenings for Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy,” Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” Tigmanshu Dhulia’s “Paan Singh Tomar,” Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In” and Andy De Emmony’s “West is West” as well as the bookend features, which are eligible for the audience award of $30,000.

Four of the world premieres were co-produced with Sanad, the ADFF’s new fund that provides development and post-production support for films from the Arab world.

The fest programmers, led by executive director Peter Scarlet, narrowed down the selection from over 2,000 submissions.

The fest will also feature a special programs of films dealing with environmental issues, restored classics and several films from the series “Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema” presented in partnership with the Museum of Modern Art and ArteEast.