Abu Dhabi Film Festival scrapped

Abu Dhabi Film Festival scrapped
Analysis: Another film festival in the Gulf has been cancelled, suggesting that the film boom of recent years is over here.
2 min read
08 May, 2015
The curtain has been lowered on Abu Dhabi's film festival [Getty]
Nine years after the launch of its first edition in 2007, and in a surprising step for Arab film-makers, the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority announced on May 7 the cancellation of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, without providing any clear or convincing reasons.

The statement described the decision to cancel the event as the "next phase [to] further support local and Arab film-makers and attract more film productions to Abu Dhabi".

The Sanad film fund, which offers support for Arab films in development and post-production, will continue.

Last year, the Dubai Film Festival's budget was halved and its most prominent project, the Dubai Film Market, was scrapped.

Palestinian producer Hanna Atallah told al-Araby al-Jadeed that the cancellation of the Abu Dhabi festival was due to "a possible understanding between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, allowing the first to host film professionals and their works through its festival, while the latter focuses on film production".

Some suggested that there were general budget cuts by the government for film festivals, which are known for their overblown costs.

It seems that the film boom of recent years in the Gulf is suddenly receding. Last year's Dubai Gulf Film Festival was cancelled after its management announced only that it had been postponed. The Doha-Tribeca Film Festival has also been scrapped, replaced by the smaller Ajyal Youth Film Festival and the Qumra Film Festival.