‘Gulabi Talkies’ only Indian feature in Abu Dhabi film fest

September 30th, 2008 - 12:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 30 (IANS) Girish Kasaravalli’s Kannada movie “Gulabi Talkies” is the only Indian entry in the feature section of this year’s Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF).”Gulabi Talkies” will compete with 14 other feature films from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the US for the $200,000 Black Pearl award for the best narrative film in MEIFF 2008 to be held in Abu Dhabi Oct 10-19, according to the list of nominated films released by the event’s organiser Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).

Over 60 films from 32 countries around the world will take part in the official competition this year.

In all, 138 films from across the world will be screened in this year’s festival, up from 80 films in MEIFF’s inaugural edition in 2007.

The other Indian entry this year is “Sukrit’s Sundays”, directed by Vasant Nath, which has been nominated in the short films category.

“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 honoured to host them in Abu Dhabi,” Mohamad Khalaf Al Mazrouei, vice-chairman of MEIFF 2008, said in a statement.

“The official competition is the place to be at MEIFF to see up and coming films and premieres from across the globe,” added Nashwa Al Ruwaini, director of MEIFF.

Winner of the best Indian film award at the 10th Osian Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab cinema, “Gulabi Talkies” is about a midwife, Gulabi, who is passionate about films.

After her husband runs off to stay with his second wife, Gulabi starts spending her days in the cinema and later brings a television to watch films at home. Her neighbours and husband then start to slowly join her.

Among other nominees for the best feature contest are Norway’s “O’Horten” and Russia’s “Mermaid”, both of which have been submitted for nomination for the Oscar for the best foreign language film.

The seven-and-a-half-minute long “Sukrit’s Sundays” is about the memories a young boy, Sukrit, retains from his regular interactions with his grandfather.

“Week after week, a special ritual brought Sukrit and his grandfather together on Sundays. He will never forget how suddenly, on a Sunday like any other, all he was left with was the memory of an old safety razor, a lathered shaving brush and a rusty mirror,” a synopsis of the film by Enlighten Film Society says.

Among other nominations in the short films category are Tim Sternberg’s “Salim Baba”, about a 55-year-old man in north Kolkata who makes a living out of screening discarded film scraps from a hand-cranked projector and New Zealand-born Mark Lapwood’s “Eclipse”, shot in India, New Zealand and Australia.

There are four competition categories in this year’s MEIFF: features, short films, documentaries and student films.

This year, two new sections have been introduced to bring internationally renowned films to the audience in Abu Dhabi - Festival of Festivals and Environmental Films.

“With so many wonderful films playing at festivals around the world, MEIFF 2008 is endeavouring to present a unique combination of the year’s top movies: a taste of the best,” Al Ruwaini said.

“Nearly all of these selections have already won top prizes at international festivals. Whether you’re seeking crowd favourites or critics’ picks, this section has something for you,” she added.

Over half of the 24 narrative films and documentaries to be screened in Festival of Festivals have won or were nominated for awards in the past year at film festivals in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Mexico and the US, the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

“With the new Festival of Festivals section, we proudly bring a collection of Academy Award winning filmmakers, jury prize winners and crowd favourites to the Abu Dhabi audience,” MEIFF’s director of programming Jon Fitzgerald said.

Regarding the Environmental Films section, Al Ruwaini said that it would showcase films whose themes were about the environment and humanity’s place in the world.

“The inclusion of this section has been launched in conjunction with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. It is inspired by Abu Dhabi’s dedication to preserving the environment and its wildlife as it has been working on a number of initiatives over the past few years among which are (renewable energy firm) Masdar and the Ecological Footprint of the UAE,” she said

Seven films from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, the US, Britain and France will be screened in this section.

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