Heralding a Promising Future for Arab Co-Production Platforms
Emirati Feature A to B Gets a World Premiere at ADFF
The 8thAbu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) has selected the Emirati feature A to B to screen in the festival's opening. Running from October 23rd to November 1st, 2014, the event witnesses the World Premiere of the film, which is considered the first Emirati film to open ADFF since the festival's launch in 2007.
Based on a story by the film's Emirati helmer Ali Mostafa, it is written by Scriptwriter and Producer Mohamed Hefzy, with contribution from Ashraf Hamdy and Ronnie Khalil. A toB is produced by PaulBaboudjian, MohammedHefzy and Ali Mostafa, with the support from twofour54, Abu Dhabi, and ImageNation Abu Dhabi.
Remarking on this, Mohamed Hefzy stated, "Making A to B over the last four years has been a wonderful experience that only comes along so rarely in one s career. The diversity of the talents involved and the ambition of the film make it even more special. We could not have asked for a better way to launch than the opening night of ADFF".
Paul Baboudjian shares a similar nostalgia with Hefzy and further added by saying, "Production wise it was a very interesting project to work on, not only because we proved to be able to do an amazing film, on the road, with a relatively small budget, but also because Ali is a real master, not only with his capacity behind the camera but also with his intuition on how to make the main leads interact. We were very lucky for having incredible talents who participated with great enthusiasm to this amazing collective effort. I am uttermost grateful for the support of Abu Dhabi's twofour54 and Image Nation. Without them of course the film would not be here with us, now and in this manner. They supported us and allowed us to proceed as well with a great amount of creative freedom".
Commenting on the importance of opening the festival with an Emirati/ Arab film, Ali Al Jabri, Director of ADFF, released the following official statement earlier, "The success of high-calibre Arab filmmakers like AliMostafa is a testament to the vibrancy of filmmaking in the region. This year's festival will highlight the growth of the film industry in the region and showcase the best Arab filmmaking talent alongside the best in world cinema".
In ADFF's official press release, Ali Mostafa added: "It is an honor to have my film A to B selected as the opening night screening of this year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival. It is a privilege to celebrate the World Premiere in our capital city and I am proud to have the first Emirati film to ever open the festival. This is another testament to our growing industry as the festival has proven to be a great platform for launching Arab films to an international audience".
Set to entertain audiences in the Arab world and beyond, A to B presents three young Arab expats who undertake a road trip from their hometown, Abu Dhabi, to Beirut in memory of their best friend. Their plan to cover 2,500 kilometers over three days is beset with obstacles and funny moments as they travel across the region.
About Mohammed Hefzy
Already a thriving producer and scriptwriter, Mohamed Hefzy has continuously delivered on excellence through creating original films that always meet critics' expectations. Audiences worldwide have praised his high-quality work, and fans have expressed their admiration to him as a talented Egyptian scriptwriter. Hefzy recently co-produced the British movie, My Brother the Devil, which has already been internationally commended and awarded for its dramatic debut. In 2011, he produced a number of films that have been recognized worldwide and won international awards, including Tahrir 2011: the Good, the Bad and the Politican. Both the audience and award committees have constantly received Hefzy's work with great acclaim. This has placed him on a fresh content-based platform in the Arab world, proving that stereotypes can be broken. Hefzy also teaches scriptwriting courses in the American University in Cairo.
About Paul Baboudjian
Paul Baboudjian started his career working both creatively and managerially in the media industry (advertising, television and films). He produced short films and documentary projects in various Countries of the Mediterranean area, developing an international experience and reputation. He actively contributed to the setup of Screen Institute Beirut, a Lebanese NGO devoted to supporting the documentary film industry in the MENA region and is strongly committed to promote and develop an Arab screen culture that reflects the views, issues and interests of audiences and communities in the Arab world and to foster international collaboration and networks. Among others, he produced the award winning (Black Pearl Award at ADFF 2010) film "Chatti Ya Dini" and supported two of the most successful documentaries of the Arab world "Teta Alf Marra" - 2010 and "A World Not Ours" - 2012. Baboudjian is currently working on a new Emirati feature.
About Ali Mostafa
Ali Mostafa is a British-Emirati filmmaker, director and producer who is credited as the director of the first Emirati feature-film City of Life. Born in 1981, Mustafa received wide acclaim for his debut in filmmaking; he has been branded as "Best Emirati Filmmaker" in the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and won the 'Young Filmmaker of the Year' award at the Digital Studio Awards 2010.
About Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), powered by twofour54, is presented each October to help create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. With a focus on Arab cinema and the wealth of emerging and established film talent from around the world, ADFF has become one of the most anticipated cultural events in Abu Dhabi, helping to enhance the emirate as a hub of creativity. Abu Dhabi Film Festival is committed to curating exceptional programs and engaging and educating the local community with their own and other cultures through the art of cinema. The films of Arab film directors are presented in competition with those of the most respected film-makers from all over the world.
twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi, is a leading media and entertainment hub in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, aiming to nurture the development of creative industries in the region through supporting talent, content development, and young entrepreneurs.
About Image Nation Abu Dhabi
Since launching in 2008 as a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, Image Nation has rapidly become one of the leading content creators in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the company's local division, develops film, TV and documentary projects showcasing Emirati talent both in front and behind the camera. "Sea Shadow", the company's first local film, was released in 2011 and the horror film "Djinn" is slated for release later in 2013.