Abu Dhabi Film Festival Shuttered

Abu Dhabi

The emirate's media authority speaks of a "refocusing of its film activities to reflect the rapid growth in the region."

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival is being discontinued after eight editions, organizers said on Thursday.

"In a refocusing of its film activities to reflect the rapid growth in the region, Media Zone Authority has announced that the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) is being brought to a close in order to focus on future targeted initiatives to further support local and Arab filmmakers and attract more film productions to Abu Dhabi," a statement said.

"The move marks the next phase in the capital’s maturing film industry," it argued.

Abu Dhabi has recently become a major location for international productions, having last year seen the likes of Furious 7 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens shoot in the emirate, along with several Bollywood films. Its Media Zone Authority, twofour54, which oversees the festival, is tasked with supporting the emirate's media and entertainment activities and has been looking to develop its local crews and industry infrastructure.

The festival has, however, been trying to define its role on the global festival schedule and has in recent years focused more on regional fare.

"The Media Zone Authority will continue its efforts in supporting Emirati and Arab filmmakers through the SANAD Fund," the authorities said in their statement. "Additionally, Abu Dhabi Film Commission will focus on promoting Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a regional hub for film and TV productions through the 30 percent cash-back rebate on all qualifying spend of projects shot in Abu Dhabi."

The statement added: "To further enhance our efforts in building the industry, we have recently launched the upgraded postproduction facilities. The new facilities now offer multi-purpose suites with editing, audio and market leading colour grading equipment. The facilities also offer an experience unmatched anywhere in the Middle East and North Africa region, further emphasising Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading media hub."

The 2014 edition of the festival was seen as a major highlight, having opened for the first time with a locally-made feature, From A to B by Emirati director Ali F. Mostafa. The film went on to get a Middle East theatrical release and has been picked up internationally. The festival closed with Big Hero 6, just days after its world premiere in Japan.

A source told The Hollywood Reporter that twofour54 would be announcing more in the coming days.

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