David Hasselhoff Joins Judging Panel for Abu Dhabi Short Film Competition

  ASSOCIATED PRESS

In perhaps Tuesday's most random film news, David Hasselhoff was announced as one of the judges for a short film competition in the Middle East.

The Knight Rider star will join the judging panel for this year's Arab Film Studio, the amateur competition run by Abu Dhabi-based production house Image Nation and now into its fourth year. The panel also includes writer Wesley Strick (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) and Ashok Amitraj of Hyde Park Entertainment, which has partnered with Image Nation to fund films such as the Jennifer Aniston-starring Life of Crime, which opened the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

"Arab Film Studio is a great way for any budding filmmaker to get started in the industry," Hasselhoff said in a statement. "I'm so honored to be part of this year's judging panel and I can't wait to see what each contestant has come up with."

The finalists competing in this year's Arab Film Studio include shorts from countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, the U.K., Kuwait and the Netherlands. An award ceremony will be held in October.

This won't, however, be Hasselhoff's first visit to Abu Dhabi. He was a surprise special guest at the closing of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival last year and in 2008 visited the city's Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the Mall of the Emirates in the neighboring emirate of Dubai, later telling a local magazine that he was surprised at how many people approached him there.

"Everyone's talking about what they are: I'm a Christian; I'm Muslim; I'm whatever. Really, they just want to meet the guy from America's Got Talent or Knight Rider," he said.

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