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‘Secretariat’ opens Abu Dhabi fest

Adrien Brody, Clive Owen among guests

ABU DHABI — The fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival unspooled Thursday with the international preem of Randall Wallace’s “Secretariat.”

Pic, which stars Diane Lane and John Malkovich, follows the tale of a horse that won the Triple Crown in 1973.

Adrien Brody and Clive Owen graced the red carpet at the palatial Emirates Palace, alongside regional stars Suheir Hammad and Khaled Abol Naga.

Uma Thurman and Julianne Moore are also expected to attend the fest, which wraps Oct. 23.

Before screening “Secretariat,” fest’s executive director Peter Scarlet opened the event with Jafar Panahi’s short pic “The Accordion,” which follows two young street musicians in Tehran who get their accordion stolen from them. Panahi, who was jailed for three months in an Iranian jail for making what was deemed an “anti-regime” pic about the country’s political situation, was released on bail in May and has received support at various fests this year, particularly at Cannes where Juliette Binoche appealed for his release from prison.

This year, the 10-day fest will screen 172 pics from 43 countries with 32 world preems and 26 international preems.

Nearly $1 million in prize money will be awarded through Black Pearl awards in categories that include new narrative film, new narrative film from the Arab world, docu and docu from the Arab world.

Fest overlaps with the Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s Circle Conference, which wraps Friday and has seen nearly 600 regional and international delegates in attendance.

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