The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF)
The fifth edition of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which took place October 13 through 22, 2011, allowed the public to discover fifteen French films or French co-productions. During the awards ceremony, Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parronaud received Best Narrative Film, while Ismael Ferroukhi was awarded Best Director from the Arab World for Free Men. SANAD, ADFF's development and post-production fund, with a budget of US$500,000, this year supported 3 majority French co-productions, including On the Edge by Leila Kilani, which received the Jury Special Mention award for the performances of its four actresses. During the festival, Radu Mihaileanu's The Source proved to be one of the most popular films screening in the city's main multiplex. Lastly, Serge Bromberg attended the festival to present A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès, which spectacularly closed a program dedicated to the first images of early cinema. Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, the French duo of Air who created the soundtrack for the restored film, also gave a master class "Scoring the Moon."
The Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF)
The third edition of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) unspooled over four days between October 25 through 29, 2011, in the cultural village of Katara. The festival presented a select program of sixty films spread across several categories. French films opened and closed the festival and had a strong presence overall, with 11 films in the two main competition sections. They garnered 5 awards:
- Best Arab Narrative Film to Normal by Merzak Allouache,
- Best Arab Narrative Filmmaker to Roschdy Zem for Omar Killed Me,
- Best Arab Documentary Film to The Virgin, the Copts and Me by Namir Abdel Massih,
- Best Performance to Sami Bouajila for Omar Killed Me by Roschdy Zem.
- Audience Award to Where Do We Go Now by Nadine Labaki.
Black Gold by Jean-Jacques Annaud, partially financed by the Doha Film Institute (DFI), which, among its other activities, organizes the festival, was presented at the opening night ceremony, while The Lady by Luc Besson closed the event.
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF)
Now into its eighth year, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is the Emirates trio's oldest film event and is renowned for its co-production market, which attributes awards and funding to films from the Arab world. French co-productions were once again relatively well represented this year, even though they didn't include such celebrated names as Isabelle Huppert, Catherine Deneuve, Christophe Lambert, or Jamel Debbouz, who have represented France in previous years. However, Hiner Saleem attended to present her film If You'll Die, I'll Kill You, along with the film's lead actress Golshifteh Farahani.
In all, 11 features and 6 short films produced or co-produced by France were presented, 3 of which received awards:
The Road to Paradise by Uda Benyamina (Muhr Arabic Shorts 1st Prize + Fipresci)
Burners by Farid Bentoumi (Muhr Arab Short – Special Mention)
Here We Drown Algerians - October 17, 1961 by Yasmina Adi (Muhr Arab Documentaries – 2nd Prize)
The Dubai Film Connection fund (USD25,000 for two co-productions distinguished by the DIFF Award) went to The Eye of the Devil by Katia Jarjoura (producer Jérôme Bleitrach/Lebanon-France) and When Home Becomes Hell by Dalila Ennadre (producer Damien Froidevaux/Morocco-France), while the third contender Back to the Jungle by Wissam Charaf (producer Charlotte Vincent/Lebanon-France) received US$10,000.