Heritage Film Festival 2011 in Abu Dhabi


The Heritage Film Festival is the first open-air film festival held at the Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi brought to us by the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region.  The festival which starts will screen Emirati, German and Swiss films and will run till 26th February.

The theme of this film festival is "Homeland & Identity" curated by Masoud Amralla Al Ali and Philip Bräuer. After each screening, the film directors and experts will engage in a discussion and answer questions by the audience.

Entry is free and all the films will have English subtitles.

Venue: Heritage Village on Breakwater Island, Abu Dhabi Corniche (location map)


23rd February 2011, 7:30 pm

Being Local by Andreas Steffan (Germany-UAE, 2007, 26 min, in cooperation with Ahmed Al Mazrouei and Nasser Jabber)
A documentary about the life of college students and a study of a young Emirati's life between consume and heritage - it tries to depict the essence of being a young Emirati in the enigmatic metropolis of Dubai.

The director follows Ahmed Mazrouei through his every day of studying and free time activities – a charismatic young Emirati around whom a group of Emirati men in their mid-twenties gather for various reasons and activities: driving fast cars on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Street, listening music in Western music stores in the biggest malls and sitting around campfires in the desert while philosophizing about life.

ID Swiss: Hopp Schwyz by Fulvio Bernasconi (Switzerland, 1999, 11 min)
ID can stand for "idea" as well as for "identity": One of seven episodes contributed by the younger generation of Swiss filmmakers, offering highly personal views of their homeland as a place which is in fact a fascinating kaleidoscope of several different cultures.

Directed by Fulvio Bernasconi, the son of Italian immigrants and grew up in Tessin (Switzerland) feels his inner conflict between Italy and Switzerland and tries to discuss this conflict by means of a soccer match between Switzerland and Italy: But in which goal should the ball score?

City of Life by Ali F. Mostafa (UAE, 2009, 98 min)
City Of Life is an urban drama set in Dubai that explores the existing complexities within an emerging multicultural society's race, ethnicity and class divide. A privileged Emirati male, a disillusioned Indian taxi driver and a European woman's paths are about to collide and irrevocably impact one another's lives. (I reviewed this film last April, you can read it here.)

24th February 2011, 7:30 pm

Mountain Sheikh by Naser El Yaqoobi (UAE, 2008, 11 min)
The film depicts the ways of live of  men in the United Arab Emirates and their resolution. It tells the story of an old man who works alone in a stone pit in the mountains. He talks about his work and own way of life, which will most probably disappear with him.

ID Swiss: Who, when, where by George Wageh (Switzerland, 1999, 10 min)
ID can stand for "idea" as well as for "identity": One of seven episodes contributed by the younger generation of Swiss filmmakers, offering highly personal views of their homeland as a place which is in fact a fascinating kaleidoscope of several different cultures. Directed by Wageh George and  is Egyptian who grew up in Cairo and only his love to a woman from Helvetia brought him to Switzerland. Wageh has the chance to become a Swiss citizen soon. That is why he is exploring what makes a "real" Swiss.

Heimat (Homeland) 3 - Chronicle of a turning point in history Episode 1 - The happiest people in the world by Edgar Reitz (Germany, 2004, 100 min)
On the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall Hermann meets by chance his early love Clarissa in Berlin. They decide to stay together and buy the "Günderrode-House" - an old timbered house near the river Rhine. Thus Hermann returns to his old homeland. He visits his village and his brothers while Clarissa finds two construction workers from Leipzig for the reconstruction of the house. The two workers Gunnar and Udo follow her from the east to the west for this "profitable" job. Hermann and Clarissa are busy with their careers and their dream of a life together seems to fade. And Udo and Gunnar spent a momentous Christmas holiday with their families in Munich.

(The Heimat Trilogy deserves a festival of its own, divided into 11 feature length films, over 16 hours long, it's about a "people's history of Germany" in the 20th Century as lived by the Simon family and the people around them. As the rural way of life is challenged by technological advances, the Nazis come to power and Germany is divided in two, this gripping story follows the effects upon ordinary people. A moving and complex story about the various meanings of 'homeland'. This trailer covers the entire trilogy, and you can read more about Heimat 3 here.)

25th February 2011, 7:30 pm

Dhabyaniyah – Girl from Abu Dhabi by Sandra Staffl (Germany-UAE, 2008, 23 min, in cooperation with Fatima Helal Mohammed Al Balooshi and Raweya Abdul Hakeem Al Muflahi)
A documentary about the life of two female Emirati students at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi in and outside of the college. Going on desert trips to explore their roots in the morning and going shopping to Abu Dhabi’s shopping malls to explore new fashion trends in the evening. Thus the girls lead a life between modernity and tradition and challenge the traditional position of Emirati women with their very own means. They dream of being independent, having their own business and self-fulfilment.

Foreign.Yaban by Hakan Savas Mican (Germany, 2007, 18 min)
The film tells the story of a young Turk who lives and studies in Berlin. When his mother arrives from Turkey to see him he is confronted with his Turkish side that seems not to be part of him.

Door by Waleed Al Shehhi (UAE, 2008, 18 min)
The film is about a journey into the invisible human depth - through the search of a missing door. It is the door of life.

Madly in Love by Anna Luif (Switzerland, 2010, 85 min)
Everything is ready for the big party. Devan wants to marry Nisha – and now the bride-to-be is on her way to Switzerland from Sri Lanka. The two young people only know each other via Skype. Siva, a cool and hip rapper, doesn’t understand why his cousin wants to get married and teases him all the time. Devan’s father, however, is delighted with the prospect of the forthcoming marriage.

But just before the wedding, Devan gets to know an attractive, self-confident woman called Leo. For the first time in his life he feels deeply understood – and falls in love with her head over heals. Confused and excited at the same time, Devan is torn between true and promised love.


26 February 2011, 7:30 pm

Once by Nayla Al Khaja (UAE, 2008, 15 min)
The film revolves around the day Hamda, a young Arab teenager plans to meet her boyfriend Saeed for the first time. The film shows the journey Hamda goes through to see Saeed for half an hour. The journey shows Hamda's best friend, Amna, cover for her, Hamda lying to her father, Hamda going to the hair salon transforming herself from a young girl into a beautiful young woman and then travelling to her date with the excitement of meeting and fear of getting caught. Hamda thrives on excitement yet knows the big risk she is taking by seeing Saeed for the first time. Hamda and Saeed get to meet, however not all goes to plan.

ID Swiss: Mixed up by Nadia Fares (Switzerland, 1999, 14 min)
ID can stand for "idea" as well as for "identity": A documentary consisting of seven episodes contributed by the younger generation of Swiss filmmakers, offering highly personal views of their homeland as a place which is in fact a fascinating kaleidoscope of several different cultures. The contributions have been collected, edited and given a certain coherence by the producers Werner Schweizer and Samir. Directed by Nadia Fares, the daughter of an Egyptian father and a mother from the Swiss city of Bern, today she lives in Lausanne, New York and Cairo always searching for her roots between Cairo and Emmental.

The Kebab Connection by Anno Saul (Germany, 2005, 96 min)
Ibo is of Turkish origin and lives in Hamburg. Being a big Bruce Lee and Jet-Li fan he is dreaming of Germany’s first Kung-Fu film. When his German girlfriend Titzi tells him that she's pregnant, he can't face up to this – at least not right away. Ibo’s father Mehmet is furious when he hears about the pregnancy. In his view, it is okay to sleep with a German, and it is okay to wake up with a German, but to have a baby with a "non-believer"… He throws his son out of the flat and Ibo ends up staying with Lefty, the son of a Greek taverna-owner. And Titzi's mother is also far from convinced, asking the question, "Did you ever see a Turkish guy pushing a baby carriage?" But finally Ibo practices nappy-changing and attends a course for expectant mothers.

[All film synopses from Goethe Institut website]

Heritage Film Festival

Goethe Institut Gulf Region