Abu Dhabi Film Festival

Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Al Raha Beach Theatre,
Al Raha Beach Service Road, Dubai Highway
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 2 556 4000
Fax: +971 2 556 4343

Festival Overview

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (formerly the Middle East International Film Festival) was established in 2007, with the aim of helping to create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. Presented each October by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the event is committed to curating exceptional programs to engage and educate the local community, inspire filmmakers and nurture the growth of the regional film industry.

With its commitment to presenting works by Arab filmmakers in competition alongside those by major talents of world cinema, the Festival offers Abu Dhabi's diverse and enthusiastic audiences a means of engaging with their own and others' cultures through the art of cinema. At the same time, a strong focus on the bold new voices of Arab cinema connects with Abu Dhabi's role as a burgeoning cultural capital in the region and marks the Festival as a place for the world to discover and gauge the pulse of recent Arab filmmaking.


Films in competition contend for Black Pearl Awards in the following categories:

4.1 Narrative Feature Competition:

Best Narrative Film ($100,000)
Best Narrative Film from the Arab World ($100,000)
Best Actor ($25,000)
Best Actress ($25,000)
4.2 Documentary Feature Competition:
Best Documentary ($100,000)
Best Documentary from the Arab World ($100,000)
4.3 Afaq Jadida (New Horizons) Competition:
Best New Narrative Film ($100,000)
Best New Narrative Film from the Arab World ($100,000)
Best New Documentary ($100,000)
Best New Documentary from the Arab World ($100,000)
4.4 Short Films Competition:
Best Narrative Short ($25,000)
Best Documentary Short ($25,000)
Best Short from the Arab World ($25,000)
Best Animated Short ($15,000)
Best Student Shorts (1st prize: $15,000, 2nd prize: $10,000, 3rd prize: $5,000)
4.5 Prizes for the "Best Film" awards in the feature competitions will be shared equally between the director and the production company.

4.6 Productions from the following countries (or co-productions of these countries with any others) are eligible for the awards for films from the Arab World: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen.

Films selected from these countries for the competition sections are eligible for all awards within their section. Films from other countries are only eligible for the "Best Film" awards.

4.7 Films in Showcase contend for the Audience Choice Award ($30,000). The prize for the Audience Choice Award will be shared between the producer ($20,000) and the world sales agent or local distributor ($10,000). Both feature-length narratives and documentaries are eligible for this award


Action Adaptation Adventure Animation Art-house Asian Black Comedy Bollywood Bollywood Children Comedy Crime Documentary Drama Experimental Fantasy Foreign Language French Historical Horror Independent Romance Short Silent Student Thriller War Women

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Film Festival
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Open to the public


6.1 Premiere status:

Priority will be given to world and international premieres.
Films may not have been publicly exhibited in the Gulf region prior to the Festival's 2010 edition.
Films from outside the Gulf region must be Gulf premieres and films from the Gulf region must be U.A.E premieres.
6.2 All sections, with the exception of the Emirates Competition, are open to entries from all nations. Eligibility, awards and prizes for the section are listed in the separate EFC Rules & Regulations.

6.3 Only first and second feature-length films are eligible for the Afaq Jadida (New Horizons) Competition.

6.4 Films may not have been released or publicly exhibited before October 1, 2009, with an exception of a festival premiere in the film's country of production.

6.5 Unless approved in advance by the Festival, films may not be publicly broadcast via TV, Internet or otherwise, prior to or during the Festival's 2010 edition. This does not apply to shorts, which may be shown prior to the Festival's 2010 edition on a non-commercial website only and for a limited period (e.g., as part of an online-only film festival).

6.6 Films that have been submitted to prior editions of the Festival will not be considered unless they have been altered significantly. The Festival reserves the right not to consider any previously submitted film.

6.7 Feature films must have a running time of 60 minutes or more. Short films must have a running time of 35 minutes or less.


35mm print, HDCAM tape, Digital Betacam PAL tape.


There are no entry fees associated with this festival

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