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Antonia Carver

  • In focus - Will war films win in the gulf'


    The Middle East is having its 'Vietnam moment', in celluloid terms at least: the slew of Iraq- and terrorism-themed films coming out of Hollywood is drawing comparisons with the rash of war pictures in the late 1970s.
  • Sundance picks seven projects for Middle East Writers Lab


    The Sundance Institute has announced the selection of seven projects for the third annual Middle East Screenwriters Lab, which takes place in Jordan Oct 28-Nov 1.
  • Ben X takes grand jury prize at first Abu Dhabi festival


    The inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) came to an end Friday evening with a lengthy awards ceremony and the screening of Paul Haggis's In the Valley of Elah.
  • A good news day


    The Egyptian film industry is ruled by a clutch of players that typically act as producers, distributors and exhibitors, churning out comedies that dominate the local box office. Adel Adeeb, managing director of indie Good News Group, can add a fourth arm - directing - to the list. He is also a consummate PR man, with an infectious enthusiasm and absolute faith in his projects - perhaps with good reason.
  • Al Shaibani and Al Muhairi take Emirates awards in Abu Dhabi


    Abu Dhabi's Middle East International Film Festival (Oct 14-19) today announced the winners of its competition for Emirati filmmakers. Hani Al Shaibani, whose second feature Jumaa and the Sea screens at the festival, and Fadel Al Muhairi, who participated in the festival's pitching programme with his Gulf-based period action-adventure project A Corsair's Tale, each received $27,000 (Dhs100,000) from the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC).
  • Love Marriage and Keep Smiling take pitch prize in Abu Dhabi


    The inaugural Middle East International Film Festival's Film Financing Circle (FFC) came to an end Wednesday night with an awards ceremony for the finalists of its pitching programme, the InCircle Pearl.
  • Weinstein keynote gives strong start to Abu Dhabi festival


    Abu Dhabi 's inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) got off to an extravagant start on Sunday evening with a ceremony that included an Academy Awards-style opening number choreographed by Broadway veteran Otis Sallid. A lavish party at the opulent festival centre, Emirates Palace, followed the screening of opening film Atonement, which met with modest applause from the 1,000-strong, mainly local audience.
  • Abu Dhabi festival to include talks with Weinstein and Haggis


    Harvey Weinstein and director Paul Haggis have joined the line-up of industry executives attending Abu Dhabi's inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (Oct 14-19).
  • Haggis' Elah to close inuagural Abu Dhabi festival


    Abu Dhabi's inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (Oct 14-19) has announced its line-up of Arab films, plus its closing night gala - Paul Haggis's In the Valley of Elah. The Venice critics' favourite adds to an international line-up of Iraq-themed, festival hits; other 'special presentations' (gala screenings) include Todd Haynes' I'm Not There, Brian de Palma's Redacted, ...
  • Abu Dhabi unveils competition line-up


    The inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) has unveiled the full line-up for its Competition programme. The festival takes place in Abu Dhabi
  • Middle East festival adds ipod competition, more industry delegates


    Adding to a plethora of prizes, Abu Dhabi 's Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF), Oct 14-19, has launched an iPod competition for Middle Eastern short filmmakers. The Hayah (meaning 'life' in Arabic) Film Competition is open to students, professionals and amateurs making films for the iPod screen.
  • Inaugural Middle East festival selects Israeli film


    In a surprise move, Abu Dhabi's Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF), October 14-19, has selected an Israeli film to play in competition. Head programmer Nancy Collet issued the invitation to Eran Kolirin's Cannes favourite The Band's Visit, which is about the visit of an Egyptian marching band to a remote town in Israel.
  • Exhibition - Middle East - Gulf starts to widen


    A new US-style mall opens every couple of months in the Gulf, most of them complete with a multiplex. Exhibitors in other territories, including Egypt and Lebanon, have ambitious plans to expand their reach but all battle with censorship and piracy and, outside the Gulf, with political and economic uncertainty.
  • $3m Young Cleopatra begins Egyptian shoot


    UKfilm, TV and theatre company Stagescreen Productions begins shooting The Young Cleopatra, the first in a series of historical features, in Egypt on November 4.
  • Beirut Film Festival cancelled


    This year's Beirut International Film Festival, due to run Oct 3-10, has been cancelled. 'The presidential elections are coming up and this is the most precarious and unstable time for us,' festival director Colette Naufal told Screendaily. 'The limbo now that means it's very difficult to plan - if the airport closes, we won't be able to bring in the prints. Sadly, the board and I took the decision that it's just too risky this year.'
  • Film Financing Circle announcedfor Abu Dhabi Festival


    Organisers of Abu Dhabi 's inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) have announced details of the accompanying Film Financing Circle (FFC), which takes place at the Emirates Palace hotel, the festival centre, October 15-17.
  • Egypt starts record-breaking feature The Baby Doll Night


    Egyptian company The Good News Group goes into production on The Baby Doll Night, a shoot set to trump their previous hit The Yacoubian Building in scale and budget. The $5m production is the most expensive Egyptian film to date.
  • Lebanon - Going for a song


    Hany Tamba's 2005 short After Shave (Beyrouth Apres-Rasage) marked the Lebanese director out as a major talent. Stunningly shot, witty and poignant, it won the French Cesar for best short film in 2006. Tamba is now editing his first feature, a comedy about a one-hit-wonder French singer (played by Patrick Chesnais), now a hotel receptionist, who is invited by a wealthy businessman to perform at his wife's birthday in Lebanon.
  • United Arab Emirates - Gulf of opportunity


    Jon Fitzgerald's career has taken him from Park City to Santa Barbara via the Bahamas and Florida - and now to the Gulf, where he has been appointed director of Abu Dhabi's inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (Meiff).
  • Amralla named artistic director at Dubai festival


    Dubai International Film Festival has promoted Masoud Amralla Al Ali, previously head of Arab programming, to the position of artistic director.
  • Lebanon hits the road


    It may be at the whim of political and economic upheavals, and have a population of only 3.9 million, but Lebanon's film-makers are punching above their weight. Antonia Carver reports.
  • Nadine Labaki: beauty without cruelty


    It might not be about war or politics but the debut project from a young Lebanese director says much about the peace that can be achieved. Antonia Carver reports
  • Arts festival may pave way for cinemas in Saudi Arabia


    Speculation that Saudi Arabia is gradually moving towards opening cinemas will intensify following the second Festival of Visual Arts in Jeddah, which ends on Friday.
  • Jon Fitzgerald to head new Abu Dhabi film festival


    The Middle East International Film Festival is set to announce its director today. Jon Fitzgerald, who co-founded Slamdance, was Director of Festivals at the American Film Institute (AFI) between 1997 and 1999, and later an executive director of Santa Barbara International Film Festival, will head up the inaugural festival, which takes place in the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi, Oct 12-17. 'Jon is perfect for the position, given his previous experience and great connections,' ...
  • Screenwriting group eQuinoxe expands into Middle East


    eQuinoxe, the international mentoring association that runs workshops for screenwriters, has set up in the Middle East. EQuinoxe Arabiya is styling itself as an 'incubator' focused on mentoring Arab filmmakers and their projects.
  • Arab film festivals launch guild to share expertise


    Directors from key Middle Eastern film festivals have agreed to form an Arab Film Festival Guild, aimed at increasing cooperation and sharing expertise in the region, and promoting the Arab film industry internationally.The final plans for the Guild were discussed at a meeting held during Morocco's Rabat Film Festival attended by Dubai International Film Festival chairman Abdul Hamid Juma; Yusuf Dak Elbab, of the Damascus International Film Festival; Cairo director Soheir Abdel ...
  • Oliver Stone's Iranian biopic gets blocked by government


    The 'not making of' Oliver Stone's latest film would make a good script in itself. In 2006, the US director approached Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's people, hoping to make a film about the Iranian president's rise to power.
  • Abu Dhabi to establish branch of New York Film Academy


    The Abu Dhabi government has signed a deal to establish a branch of the New York Film Academy (NYFA), the first film and acting school in the Gulf. Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the director-general of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), Jerry Sherlock, Director, President and Founder of the NYFA, and the school's provost and director of education, Michael Young, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in New York yesterday. The school, NYFA's first in the ...
  • Marjane Satrapi: drawing on the past


    Marjane Satrapi, the Iranian-born film-maker of Persepolis, tells Antonia Carver why she hopes it will be seen as a film that just happens to be animated.
  • Persepolis to have English-language makeover from SPC


    Sony Pictures Classics is set to record an English-language version of Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's warmly received Cannes competition title Persepolis, an animated project based on Satrapi's bestselling graphic novels.
  • Antonia Bird will produce Daradji's next Iraqi feature


    Mohammed Daradji has arrived in Cannes fresh from location scouting inIraq.The young Baghdad-born director, who had festival success with hisfirst feature Ahlaam (Dreams), 2005, has teamed up with Britishdirector-producer Antonia Bird to produce his second film, also to be shotin the war-torn country. Bird, who has a particular interest in the region following her 2004 filmThe Hamburg Cell, about ...
  • Rotana's Arab production slate includes potential US co-production


    Ayman Halawani, head of film production for the Saudi Arabian media conglomerate Rotana, is in Cannes to promote a slate of Arab productions, including the company's first potential US co-production.
  • Charity amfAR comes on board for Dubai Film Festival


    The organisers of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) have teamed up with amfAR, the American foundation for AIDS research.This year's festival, Dec 9-16, will host a version of the Cinema Against AIDS event, the star-studded fundraiser that's become an annual fixture at Cannes.DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma confirmed that Sharon Stone, amfAR's chairman of the campaign for AIDS research, will be hosting the event in the wealthy Gulf emirate, along with amfAR's ...
  • Lebanese films start to take the spotlight in Cannes


    Lebanon, unlike most other Arab nations this year, is having a good Cannes. Besides Danielle Arbid's A Lost Man and Nadine Labaki's hot Caramel in Directors' Fortnight, and a showcase of recent productions as part of Tous les Cinemas du Monde, the state-funded Fondation Liban Cinema is promoting a raft of titles in development and pre-production. The level of creative output is extraordinary given the country's ...
  • Nadine Labaki attracts buyer buzz with debut feature Caramel


    Nadine Labaki shot Caramel - now attracting buyer buzz in Cannes after its Directors Fortnight debut -- in Beirut in late spring 2006, when the troubled city was in buoyant mood following the departure of the Syrian army. 'The timing was so fortuitous, something of a miracle,' says producer Anne-Dominique Toussaint. A week after the wrap party, Israeli bombers were overhead. With the airport besieged, it was September before Labaki could begin post-production in Paris.
  • Dubai's Frontrow makes strong start in Cannes market


    Dubai-based distributor Frontrow Films Entertainments has struck a number of deals here.Managing director Gianluca Chacra was the first distributor to pick up Rowan Woods’s LA-set drama Winged Creatures from Peace Arch (for the Middle East), currently in post-production. He’s also taken Meg Ryan/LL Cool J comedy The Deal from Peace Arch, and Poor ...
  • English-language debut for Kiarostami


    Cannes veteran Abbas Kiarostami is to make his his 24th film and first English-language production.The $6m MK2 production Certified Copy is set in Italy, and stars Juliette Binoche. Producer Marin Karmitz told Screen International they were looking to cast an English actor to play the lead role, James, a 50-year-old writer in Italy to launch his latest book, about the relationship ...
  • Samira Makhmalbaf to resume troubled Afghan film


    Shooting on Two-Legged Horse, Samira Makhmalbaf's latest feature, will resume soon in an undisclosed location, she announced at Cannes. Her first feature in five years came to an abrupt end on March 28 when an extra threw a handheld bomb into the northern Afghanistan-based set.In Cannes with her father Mohsen, scriptwriter and producer of the film, Samira related how the bomb severely injured six members of the cast and crew as well ...
  • Abu Dhabi announces inaugural film festival and new film fund


    The Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi announced that it is launching an international film festival in October 2007, and also launching a film fund to support local, regional and international films, supported by an 'unlimited' government budget.
  • Palme d'Or winner: Abbas Kiarostami


    When Abbas Kiarostami's Taste Of Cherry shared the Palme d'Or with Shohei Imamura's The Eel at the 50th Cannes Film Festival in 1997, the Iranian auteur was no stranger to Cannes. Life And Nothing More had won the Un Certain Regard award in 1992; Through The Olive Trees screened in Competition in 1994; and Jafar Panahi's The White Balloon, which Kiarostami wrote, won the Camera d'Or in 1995. The Palme d'Or established Kiarostami internationally as the ...
  • Local film Saturn Opposite to open Istanbul Film Festival


    The 26th Istanbul Film Festival opens on March 30 with the regional premiere of Ferzan Ozpetek's Turkish-Italian-French co-production Saturn Opposite, the first time a Turkish director has been honoured at the first-night ceremony. Something of a director's festival, international guests scheduled to attend include Gus van Sant, Paul Schrader, Park Chan Wook, Tsai Ming-Liang and Tom DiCillio.
  • Dubai announces dates, beefed-up roles for Amralla and Field


    The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), which will run from Dec 9 to 16, 2007, has announced that CEO and festival director Neil Stephenson has stepped down.
  • The Third Day scoops Fajr International Film Festival


    Tehran 's annual Fajr International Film Festival came to a close on February 11 with a national awards ceremony that saw the main gongs go to Mohammad Hossein's war drama The Third Day. Despite multiple nominations, critics' favourite The Night Bus, an original take on the war theme by first-time director Kioumars Pourahmad, was largely overlooked.
  • US/Iraq - Her country, their country


    The hoopla that accompanies the Academy Awards could not be further from the experience of making a documentary in today's Iraq. Nominated for best documentary award, Laura Poitras' My Country, My Country has stood out among the recent run of Iraqi-set material, in large part due to the director's determination to "make people feel" the gripping, intimate story of one family coping with the realities of the new Iraq, thereby painting a telling picture of wider despair.
  • Iranian cinema: Staying power


    Iran's film industry is unusual internationally and unique in the Middle East. Production levels - 80 features plus 36 feature documentaries and children's films in 2006 - are the highest in the region. Around 60% of films are released theatrically, and homegrown product makes up 94% of local box office.
  • Middle East box office reveals multiplex-driven market boom in 2006


    The shopping mall boom in the UAE, Turkey and Egypt is fuelling a surge in admissions in the Middle East, offset by a sharp decline in Lebanon following its war-torn summer. While the Gulf is dominated by predictable Hollywood product, homegrown cinema is on the rise in Turkey and Morocco.
  • French-Algerian film wins Golden Muhr at Dubai


    The thirdDubai International Film Festival (DIFF) came to an end on Sunday evening witha resplendent ceremony in the desert to announce the winners of the inauguralMuhr Awards for Arab Cinema.
  • Beefed-up Cairo gives top prize to The Road


    The CairoInternational Film Festival (CIFF) closed on Friday with a beefed-up awardsceremony that featured new competitions for Arab feature films and digitalfilmmaking, aimed at promoting emerging talent. The $10,000 first prize in thedigital competition went to Italian director Carlo Luglio'sSotto la StessaLuna (Beneath The Same Moon). As expected, theinternational jury, led by Argentinian director Luis Puenzo, awarded ...
  • Cairo festival opens with censorship talk


  • Dubai festival boosts Arab film line-up


  • Post-war Beirut festival welcomes 40 international guests


  • Cairo festival resurrects market as Egyptian production grows


    The organisers of the CairoInternational Film Festival, now in its 30th year, are launching afilm market to run alongside the main festival. It will take place in the CairoOpera House, Dec 2-7.