September 26, 2007–The Middle East International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi (MEIFF) announced Special Presentations including the Opening Night Film. MEIFF will kick off its first annual event on Sunday, October 14th with Joe Wrights ATONEMENT starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Veteran choreographer Otis Sallid will direct the Opening Night and Closing Night Galas dance numbers.
His Excellency Mohamed Khalaf Al-Mazrouei, Director General of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage said, We are honored to present these outstanding films by such talented directors, and look forward to celebrating the art of filmmaking here in Abu Dhabi.
It is an honor to receive such outstanding support from international studios in our inaugural year, said Executive Director Nashwa Al-Ruwaini. We are extremely proud of our Special Presentations and look forward to announcing an equally impressive selection of festival competition films.
Festival Director Jon Fitzgerald said, It is indicative of our dedication to the community and demonstrates the support we have from the international and studio communities in our mission to launch a world-class festival.
An accomplished director and choreographer in theater, television, and film, Otis Sallid conceived the hit Broadway show Smokey Joes Cafe, and he has choreographed the Oscar Awards. He has worked with such artists as Faith Hill, Bill Cosby, Christina Ricci, Patti LaBelle, Denzel Washington, Billy Crystal, Sam Jackson, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Janet Jackson, Prince, Vanessa Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Queen Latifah. He was recognized for his work on Thomas Carters SWING KIDS with the Bob Fosse L.A. Choreographers Dance Award.
Counting some of the most promising talents in film today, the Special Presentations consist of five of this years best films from around the world including:
ATONEMENT, directed by Joe Wright. With Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's (Keira Knightley) lover (James McAvoy) of a crime he did not commit. Already garnering award buzz, the film is based on the acclaimed British novel by Ian McEwan.
*Premiered at the 2007 Venice Film Festival and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
IM NOT THERE, directed by Todd Haynes. With Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julianne Moore, and Michelle Williams.
Ruminations on the life of Bob Dylan, where seven characters embody a different aspect of the musician's life and work.
*Premiered at the 2007 Venice Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize, screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, and will screen at the New York Film Festival.
REDACTED, directed by Brian De Palma. With Francois Caillaud, Patrick Carroll, Rob Devaney, Izzy Diaz, Mike Figueroa, Ty Jones, Ohad Knoller, and Paul OBrien.
A montage of stories about U.S. soldiers fighting in the Iraq conflict with a focus on the modern forms of media covering the war.
*Premiered at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, where De Palma won the Silver Lion for Best Director. The film also played at the Toronto International Film Festival and will screen at the New York Film Festival.
RENDITION, directed by Gavin Hood. With Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Peter Sarsgaard.
When Egyptian-born terrorism suspect, Anwar El-Ibrahim (Omar Metwalley) disappears on a flight from South Africa to Washington DC, his American wife, Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) travels to Washington DC to try and learn the reason for his disappearance. Meanwhile, at a secret detention facility somewhere outside the U.S., CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is forced to question his assignment in an attempt to save thousands as he becomes a party to the unorthodox interrogation of El-Ibrahim. Gavin Hood directed the Academy Award-winning TSOTSI.
*Premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival
ROMAN DE GARE, directed by Oscar winner Claude Lelouch. With Dominique Pinon, Fanny Ardant, and Audrey Dana
Judith Ralitzer, femme fatale and popular writer, is seeking characters for her next best-seller. A serial killer has just escaped from the Sant prison in Paris's 13th arrondissement. Huguette, a hairdresser in a top Parisian beauty salon, is going to change their destiny. Some encounters are more fatal than others…
*Premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
The Middle East International Film Festival Abu Dhabi (MEIFF) is a cultural event dedicated to bringing a diverse slate of international films and programs to the community and introducing filmmakers from around the world to the resources of the region. Presented by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), MEIFF is committed to nurturing relationships and providing opportunities to those looking to invest in the future of film. In this regard, the Festival will launch the inaugural Film Financing Circle (FFC), which will become a significant annual conference on the subject of international co-productions. MEIFF debuts October 14-19, 2007 and FFC launches October 15-17, 2007. Abu Dhabi is a city unprecedented in its ability to develop and grow in response to the global marketplace.
For more information and accreditation forms, please visit www.meiff.com.