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The Abu Dhabi Film Festival has announced the opening and closing films for its upcoming eighth edition, which kicks off in late October.
Hotly-anticipated Disney animation release Big Hero 6 will close the event on Nov. 1, just a week after its unveiling in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the festival will launch for the first time with a world premiere from a United Arab Emirates national. The film, From A to B, has been directed by Ali F. Mostafa and co-produced by Abu Dhabi-based producer Image Nation and government-backed media powerhouse twofour54.
The second feature from Mostafa, one of the few Emirati filmmakers to have made the transition from shorts to full-length features, From A to B is a road movie involving three friends on a 1,500-mile journey from Abu Dhabi to Beirut. Principle photography wrapped up in Jordan in May after 26 days of shooting.
The film follows Mostafa’s previous release City of Life, which was made in the neighboring Emirati city of Dubai and had its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2009.
“From A to B has been a long process for me. It’s been almost five years since my last film, so to finally announce the world premiere is such an achievement for myself and my crew,” Mostafa told The Hollywood Reporter. “I am overwhelmed with the response we have had so far and can’t wait to showcase the film where it all started, in Abu Dhabi.”
Making their film debuts in From A to B are acclaimed Saudi stand-up comic Fahad Albutairi, Egyptian actor Shadi Alfons and Syrian actor Fadi Rifaai. Other appearances include Californication’s Madeline Zima and Palestinian actress Leem Lubany, last seen in Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar-nominated film Omar and also set to appear alongside Bill Murray, Kate Hudson and Bruce Willis in Barry Levinson’s upcoming comedy Rock The Kasbah.
“We are delighted to feature a locally-produced film as opening title of this year’s festival,” said Abu Dhabi Film Festival director Ali Al Jabri. “The success of high-caliber Arab filmmakers like Ali Mostafa is a testament to the vibrancy of filmmaking in the region.”
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival is set to take place Oct. 23-Nov. 1. The full lineup will be revealed on Sept. 29. The event will help draw to a close a bustling year for Abu Dhabi’s film scene, which has welcomed major productions, such as Star Wars: Episode VII and Fast and Furious 7.
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