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Irish animator Tomm Moore’s Celtic lore-inspired toon “Song of the Sea” will open the second edition of the European Film Screenings in the United Arab Emirates where standout titles from eighteen European countries will unspool for audiences in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, interspersed with Emirati shorts.

The unique October 21-31 event held in Novo Cinema multiplexes in both UAE cities has increased its raison d’être in the region, partly filling a gap left by the recent elimination of the Abu Dhabi film fest.

“Song of the Sea” will kick things off presented by producer Stephan Roelants whose Luxembourg-based Melusine Production is co-producing Angelina Jolie’s upcoming animated pic “The Breadwinner.”

Hosts of the free-of-charge European screenings are the Luxembourg Embassy to the UAE and the European Delegation to the country. This year’s edition has been strongly supported by the Film Fund Luxembourg, directed by Guy Daleiden who is also making the trek.

Besides “Song,” titles that will launch the otherwise non-distributed European pics in the Gulf comprise unsappy heart-warmer “The Belier Family,” by France’s Eric Lartigau;  Spanish auteur Pablo Berger’s black-and-white “Blancanieves”; immigration-themed “Terraferma” by Italy’s Emanuele Crialese; and Denmark’s first superhero movie, “Antboy” by Ask Hasselbalch.

“I am extremely happy to be part of this incredible experience once again,” enthused Alessandra Priante, the event’s creator and artistic director.

“Last year’s success was a true testimony to the importance and power of such cultural events for the community of the UAE. There is a real desire for cultural and artistic diversity and creativity in this amazing country and cinema is an excellent way of delivering these values”.