'The Brothers Bloom' opens Middle East fest

Second edition of international film event

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- The eyes of the world's film industry turned towards Abu Dhabi tonight as the annual Middle East International Film Festival opened for the second time.

Taking place on the palm-lined outdoor terrace of the Emirates Palace, which was transformed into a red carpet arena for the event, stars including 'The Brothers Bloom' actor Adrien Brody greeted fans and press.

Attending as guests of the festival, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas lent a little Hollywood sparkle to an evening that was heavily attended by stars of the Arab World. Egyptian actors including Elham Shaheen and Fathy Abdel Wahab were out in force along with Khalid Al Nabawi, the popular star favored by the late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine.

Syrian actor Rashid Assaf, whose TV series was banned after prominent Arab tribes complained about how they were depicted, was joined by remowned Lebanese actress, model and signer Serine Abdel Noor. Bollywood icon Priyanka Chopra dazzled in a

A party took place after the screening of "The Brothers Bloom" where stars and guests mingled.

Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Vice Chairman of MEIFF and Director General of
The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH)– said "We have an array of celebrities [and] are proud to host them in Abu Dhabi, a city which is full of surprises and through such an event, we are able to show them off brilliantly."

MEIFF's specially launched TV station broadcast live from the Emirates Palace as stars, directors, producers and financiers mingled on and off the red carpet.

The event has built on the experiences of 2007 when a projectionist was nearly not allowed into the auditorium; tonight a huge team of festival assistants was on hand to guide attendees around the marble and gold-inlaid palace.

On Saturday, once the red carpet has been rolled away, the serious business of introducing the international filmmaking community to Abu Dhabi will begin.

"This year we have so much more to offer with our outstanding line up of films, our industry events and panels," said fest Director Nashwa Al Ruwaini.

With an array of new segments and features, and a Cinema Verite event featuring sirens Catherine Deneuve, Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon, the second edition of this fledgling fest looks like it means serious business.
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