Al Ain Film Festival announces new initiatives for January event

Currently in its third year, the festival will run from January 23 to 27 in Al Ain

Al Ain Film Festival is returning for the third year and will take place from January 23 to January  27, under the theme of Future Cinema.

Emirati film director Amer Salmeen Al Murry, the festival's founder and director, said in a press statement that a number of initiatives will be introduced at this year's event, including a collaboration with Abu Dhabi Festival.

This year, two events have come together to launch a competition for young Emirati scriptwriters. The Abu Dhabi Festival Unproduced Screenplay will award three prizes, of Dh20,000 each, to the best three short films. Winners will be announced in June following an evaluation and selection process via a special jury that includes Arab filmmakers and scriptwriters.

"Together with AFF, we are committed to continuing our work to cultivate the nation's film industry and our investment in Emirati youth to empower them to realise their artistic ambition and develop their creative abilities. Throughout Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation's 25 years, our work has contributed to the sustainable development of film and all the arts," said Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and artistic director of the Abu Dhabi Festival.

"Our partnership with Al Ain Film Festival is an invaluable opportunity to support Emirati directors and launch many outstanding new films through this prestigious Arab and international film festival."

A new prize has also been introduced, the Fareed Ramadhan Award, named in honour of the late Bahraini writer. It will be given to the best screenplay of a feature film from the Gulf. The festival will also honour artist Sheikha Alyazia bint Nahyan and Emirati director Nujoom Al-Ghanem.

The festival also announced a collaboration that will bring a number of European films to the festival and to the city through a summer programme that will screen films every weekend focused on one country.

Hani Al Shaibani, the festival's art director said that the festival has received 35 per cent more submissions this year compared to last year.

Al Murry confirmed that the event will adhere to all the precautionary measures of Covid-19, including physical distancing at venues.

More information about the festival and its awards are available at alainfilmfest.com