The Abu Dhabi Film Festival has announced its 2013 lineup, which features 166 films (92 features, 25 Arab and international shorts, and 49 short films from the Emirates and the GCC countries) from 51 countries, 13 world premieres and nine international premieres.
The Festival includes six competition categories — Narrative, Documentary, New Horizons, Our World, Shorts and Emirates Film Competitions— along with the noncompetitive section, Showcase. Filmmakers participating in the competitions compete for the Black Pearl Awards. The festival also unveiled an extensive sidebar program, which includes celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema, first films by select Arab filmmakers, restored classics, and recipients of this year’s Black Pearl Career Achievement Award.
The lineup from India includes
Richie Mehta’s Siddharth (Narrative Feature Competition)
Anup Singh’s Qissa (New Horizons)
Aparna Sen’s The Jewellery Box
Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry
Guru Dutt’s Pyassa
Ritwik Ghatak’s Subarnarekha
Mani Kual’s Duvidha,
M S Sathyu’s Garam Hawa
Jahnu Barua’s Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai
The Narrative Competition section showcases original storytelling from international filmmakers.
Canada/India, 96 mins, Hindi, 2013
In the crowded backstreets of Delhi, Mahendra fixes zippers to make what little money he can. He lives with his feisty wife Suman, his little daughter and 12-year-old son. Hitting a low, he sends his son to another city to work for a friend’s relative. But they worry when he fails to return home as agreed for the Diwali festival. Their illiteracy does not help. They don’t even have a photograph of their boy. Their anxiety escalates as they seek answers from the friend whose relative their son worked for, from the neighbours and then the police, with no luck. All they glean are unseemly rumours, the strongest being that their son could be a victim of child-trafficking. With little money and no connections, Mahendra travels across India in pursuit, hoping that whatever force arbitrarily took his child will return him unharmed.
New Horizons Competition section presents a director’s first or second feature film from around the world.
(The Tale of a Lonely Ghost)
Qissa tells the story of Umber Singh, a Sikh, who vows to oppose his destiny when he loses all he possesses in 1947. But when he marries his youngest offspring to Neeli, a girl of a lower caste, he realizes that his struggle for identity has condemned him to becoming a refugee again. This time his exile is an unforgiving eternity. History and folklore come together in this tale set in the aftermath of the Partition of India.