Daniel Schechter’s ‘Life of Crime’ to Open Abu Dhabi Film Festival

"Life of Crime"

Kelly Reichardt’s “Night Moves,” Stephen Frears’ “Philomena” and Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s Cannes winner “A Touch of Sin” will compete for the festival's best narrative feature award.

Daniel Schechter’s Life of Crime, based on a novel by the late, great Elmore Leonard, will open this year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF).

Described by Schechter as his “dream project,” it stars Jennifer Aniston and Tim Robbins and follows the misfortunes of two small-time criminals who hit it off in prison and decide to join forces for a big score on the outside. It premiered as the closing film of this year’s Toronto Film Festival.

PHOTOS: Toronto: Exclusive Instagram Photos of the Fest's Biggest Stars

In the festival's main feature competition, also announced today, highlights include Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard; Stephen Frears’ Philomena, with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Bosnian director Danis Tanovic’s An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, which picked up the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and a best actor Silver Bear for Nazif Mujic; and Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin, winner of the best screenplay honor at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Ali Al Jabri, the festival's director for the second year running, said in a statement: “We have secured films that are delighting audiences and making waves around the world. It is a heady and stimulating mix of the best of international and Arab cinema, with something for young and old. There’s entertainment for the family, as well as more challenging films for cinema buffs and armchair critics.”

Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass (Thomas McCarthy’s The Visitor, 2007; Steven Spielberg’s Munich, 2005) will receive the festival’s Black Pearl award for lifetime achievement. As well as honoring her with the award, ADFF will feature the world premiere of her most recent film, Peace After Marriage by Ghazi Albuliwi.

In the New Horizons section, for first- and second-time directors, Richard Ayoade's The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, will get a screening, as will Still LIfe by Uberto Pasolini, Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost by Anup Singh, Salvo from Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, and Belle, starring Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson, among 10 other titles.

The festival also includes a short film section, a documentary section, a panorama showcase of outstanding films from around the world, the Our World section for films that raise environmental or social awareness, and an all-new section and award category recognizing films that deal with the subject of child protection, along with an Indian film sidebar in honor of the centenary of Indian cinema this year. 

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival opens on Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 2.

See below for ABFF's 2013 Feature Competition and New Currents lineup:


Narrative Feature Competition

BARBER'S TALES (Mga kuwentong barbero) directed by Jun Robles Lana
Philippines - 120 min.
With: Eugene Domingo, Eddie Garcia, Iza Calzado, Gladys Reyes, Shamaine Buencamino
Middle East Premiere

ENEMY directed by Denis Villeneuve
Canada, Spain - 90 min.
With: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini, Sarah Gadon
Middle East Premiere

AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF AN IRON PICKER (Epizoda u zivotu beraca zeljeza) directed by Danis Tanovic
Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Slovenia, Italy - 74 min.
With: Senada Alimanovic, Nazif Mujic
Middle East Premiere

FEVERS (Fievres) directed by Hicham Ayouch
Morocco, France, UAE - 90 min.
With: Slimane Dazi, Didier Michon, Lounes Tazairt, Farida Amrouche
World Premiere – also featured in CHILD PROTECTION Competition

FOR THOSE WHO CAN TELL NO TALES (Za one koji ne mogu da govore) directed by Jasmila Zbanic
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Qatar - 75 min.
With: Kym Vercoe, Boris Isakovic, Simon McBurney, Branko Cvejic
Middle East Premiere

IDA directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Poland, Denmark - 80 min.
With: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza, Dawid Ogrodnik, Joanna Kulig
Middle East Premiere

IN THE SANDS OF BABYLON (Taht remal Babyl) directed by Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji Iraq, UK, Netherlands, UAE - 92 min.
With: Samer Qahtan, Ameer Al Daradji, Hassan Bkheet, Hayder Jumaa
World Premiere

JEALOUSY (La Jalousie) directed by Philippe Garrel
France - 76 min.
With: Louis Garrel, Anna Mouglalis, Rebecca Convenant, Olga Milshtein, Esther Garrel
Middle East Premiere

MY SWEET PEPPER LAND directed by Hiner Saleem
Iraq, France, Germany, UAE - 95 min.
With: Golshifteh Farahani, Korkmaz Arslan, Suat Usta, Mir Murad Bedirxan, Feyyaz Doman
Middle East Premiere

NIGHT MOVES directed by Kelly Reichardt
USA - 112 min.
With: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard
Middle East Premiere

PHILOMENA directed by Stephen Frears
UK, USA, France - 97 min.
With: Michelle Fairly, Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
Middle East Premiere

RAGS AND TATTERS (Farsh wa ghata) directed by Ahmad Abdallah
Egypt - 87 min.
With: Asser Yassin, Amr Abed, Yara Gubran, Mohamed Mamdouh, Atef Yousef
Middle East Premiere

SIDDHARTH directed by Richie Mehta
India, Canada - 96 min.
With: Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anurag Arora, Geeta Agrawal Sharma
Middle East Premiere - also featured in CHILD PROTECTION Competition

THE RECONSTRUCTION (La reconstruccion) directed by Juan Esteban Taratuto Argentina - 93 min.
With: Diego Peretti, Claudia Fontan, Alfredo Casero
Middle East Premiere

THE ROOFTOPS (Es-stouh) directed by Merzak Allouache
Algeria, France, Qatar - 91 min.
With: Adila Bendimerad, Nassima Belmihoub, Ahcene Benzerari, Aïssa Chouat, Mourad Khen
Middle East Premiere

A TOUCH OF SIN (Tian zhu ding) directed by Jia Zhangke 
China - 129 min.
With: Zhao Tao, Jiang Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Luo Lanshan
Middle East Premiere


New Horizons Competition

BASTARDO directed by Nejib Belkadhi
Tunisia, France, Qatar - 106 min.
With: Abdel Moneem Chouayat, Chedly Arfaoui, Lobna Noomene
Middle East Premiere

BEFORE SNOWFALL (Før snøen faller) directed by Hisham Zaman
Iraq, Norway, Germany - 105 min.
With: Taher Abdullah Taher, Suzan Ilir, Bahar Ozen
Middle East Premiere 

BELLE directed by Amma Asante
UK - 104 min.
With: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Sam Reid, Emily Watson
Middle East Premiere

BLIND DATES (Brma paemnebi) directed by Levan Koguashvili
Georgia - 97 min.
With: Andro Sakhvarelidze, Ia Sukhitashvili, Archil Kikodze
Middle East Premiere

CANOPY directed by Aaron Wilson
Australia - 84 min.
With: Khan Chittenden, Mo Tzu-Yi, Yoshi Yamamoto, Robert Menzies, Edwina Wren
Middle East Premiere

THE DOUBLE directed by Richard Ayoade
UK - 93 min.
With: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor
Middle East Premiere

GIRAFFADA directed by Rani Massalha
Palestine, France, Germany, Italy - 81 min.
With: Saleh Bakri, Laure de Clermont, Ahmed Bayatra, Roschdy Zem, Mohammed Bakri
Middle East Premiere

LOVE ME (Elsk meg) directed by Hanne Myren Norway – 75 min.
With: Hanne Myren
World Premiere

MY NAME IS HMMM … (Je m'appelle Hmmm …) directed by Agnès Troublé
France - 121 min.
With: Lou-Lelia Demerliac, Douglas Gordon, Sylvie Testud, Jacques Bonnaffe
Middle East Premiere 

POTOSI directed by Alfredo Castruita
Mexico - 120 min.
With: Arcelia Ramirez, Aldo Verastegui, Don Margarito Sanchez
International Premiere

QISSA directed by Anup Singh
India, Germany, Netherlands, France - 109 min.
With: Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal
Middle East Premiere

SALVO directed by Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza
Italy - 103 min.
With: Saleh Bakri, Sara Serraiocco, Luigi Lo Cascio, Mario Pupella
Middle East Premiere

SHORT TERM 12 directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
USA - 96 min.
With: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr, Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek
Middle East Premiere

STILL LIFE directed by Uberto Pasolini
Italy, United Kingdom - 87 min.
With: Eddie Marsan, Joanne Froggatt

VILLA 69 directed by Ayten Amin
Egypt, UAE - 108 min.
With: Khaled Abou Naga
World Premiere