Film buffs are in for a treat as the European Film Screenings hits the capital and Dubai next week, with movies from across the continent.
The second edition of the event, which is free to attend, will showcase 18 films from 18 European countries.
An Emirati short film will run before each of the European films, with seven local films scheduled, including Sarab (2014), Once (2012), Sabeel (2010) and The Intruder (2011).
Expressing his delight to have EFS in the UAE for the second year in a row, Patrizio Fondi, ambassador of the EU delegation to the UAE, said: "During 10 days, viewers will be able to choose from a wide range of recent, diverse and exciting European films from different countries.
"These will be accompanied by short films from the UAE: a beautiful way of creating a dialogue between cultures through the universal language of films.”
The films, he said, showed how Europe was united in its diversity, being from different countries, in a variety of languages, and yet still distinctly European.
The European offerings include Terraferma, an award-winning drama from Italy directed by Emanuele Crialese that premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival.
The entry from Poland, Bogowie, is about Polish surgeon Zbigniew Relinga, the man who performed the country's first successful heart transplant.
Based on a true story, the UK entry, Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance, is a documentary by Louise Osmond about a group of friends "who take on the elite ‘sport of kings' and breed themselves a racehorse”, according to EFS.
Other films include, from Sweden, Felix Herngren's adaptation of Jonas Jonasson's international bestseller, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
From Finland, The Grump is a 2014 film family comedy is directed by Dome Karukoski and, from Ireland, One Million Dubliners is a documentary initially released last year which "explores life, death and the afterlife, and ends in a way that will stay with you forever”.
The EFS will be hosted by the embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the UAE, together with the EU Delegation to the UAE and Novo Cinemas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Nicole Bintner, ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the UAE, said: "What these movies have in common is that people are put at the centre, like a natural extension of the main objective of the Luxembourg EU presidency, which is to strengthen the place of the citizen at the core of the European project.”
Alessandra Priante, the artistic director and creator of EFS, said: "The European Film Screenings is a moment of cinema and feelings. A window on the cinematographic excellence of some of the best film industries in the world, opened in a country that has a true passion for culture and for cultural diversity.
"This year we are so grateful to have received the patronage and full support of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and we are immensely grateful to all the benefactors and contributors that wanted to be part of our yearly event dedicated to European cinema.”
Saisal Hashmi, a Pakistani film-maker living in Dubai began making short films six years ago, aged 19. His latest film has been watched more than 200,000 times on YouTube.
"It is very important to have these screenings in the UAE,” he said of the EFS. "I attended the European screenings last year and it is useful for producers like me to be exposed to films from other parts of the world.
"Last year, I watched movies from Poland and the Czech Republic, and they were inspiring. It is a great idea, and every screening I went to was full so they are popular too - it shows it is not just about Hollywood.
"It can be hard to finance films here as an independent, so hopefully screenings like this will encourage more support for us.”
Hashmi's supernatural and horror films, which are about 10 to 15 minutes long, can be viewed at youtube/hashmichousefilms.
The National is a media partner of the event.
Screenings take place at Novo Cinemas in Abu Dhabi's WTC mall from October 21 to 30 and at Dubai's Ibn Battuta Mall from October 22 to 31. Visit www.facebook.com/EuropeanFilmScreenings for more details.
Source: The National