Middle East fest lines up 138 films


More than 60 films from 32 nations have signed in for the official competition at this year's Middle East International Film Festival, set to run Oct. 10-19 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

In all, some 138 films from the East and West will screen during the festival, up from 80 films in last year's inaugural MEIFF. This year's competition includes features, documentaries, shorts and student films in four categories.

"I am pleased to say that MEIFF 2008 has attracted some of the top films, filmmakers and distinguished industry guests from all corners of the world, and we are honored to host them in Abu Dhabi," MEIFF vice chairman Mohamad Khalaf Al Mazrouie said.

Added MEIFF executive director Nashwa Al Ruwaini: "The Official Competition is the place to be at MEIFF to see up-and-coming films and premieres from across the globe. These films should be the first stop for cinema lovers in Abu Dhabi. "

The festival's Black Pearl cash award, distributed to the winners along with a trophy, has been increased this year, with prizes totaling more than $1 million. (partialdiff)