Peter Scarlet takes role at Middle East fest

4:36 PM PST 03/24/2009 by Gregg Kilday, AP

Exec was Tribeca's artistic director for six years

Peter Scarlet has been named executive director of the Middle East International Film Festival, which is set to run Oct. 8-17 in Abu Dhabi.

Scarlet stepped down as artistic director of the Tribeca Film Festival last month after more than six years with that fest.

His appointment was announced Tuesday by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.

"We're very gratified that after a long search we were able to attract one of the best-known names on the world film festival scene and someone who also has knowledge and enthusiasm about films produced in this part of the world," said Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of ADACH and chairman of MEIFF.

Added Eissa Saif Al Mazrouei, managing director of the festival: "In his six years at Tribeca, Scarlet made it one of the most important showcases for Middle Eastern cinema in all of North America, showing dozens of films from this region, several of which won major prizes at that festival. In addition, he spearheaded a key initiative that brought young filmmakers from NYC and Morocco together at the Marrakech Film Festival for a weeklong series of master classes with Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, who was joined at the blackboard by America's Martin Scorsese. Scarlet's vision of cinema's ability to promote dialogue between different cultures and civilizations is exactly the quality we have been looking for to support our efforts to make Abu Dhabi a global hub for world cinema."

In addition to his tenure at Tribeca, Scarlet directed the San Francisco International Film Festival from 1983-2001. He also served a stint as director general of the Cinematheque Francaise and in 2001 was named an officer in Frances' Order of Arts and Letters.

The MEIFF will be holding its third edition in the fall.
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