uma thurman Abu Dhabi Film Festival, ADFF

After eight years of (show)business, organisers of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival have revealed that they are shutting down the annual red carpet event.

Despite attracting the who’s who of Hollywood including Uma Thurman and Adrien Brody, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) was also a community cultural event. As well as showcasing Tinseltown’s up and coming blockbusters it also celebrated the region’s talents premiering films by lesser know, yet talented, moviemakers. 

Announcing the shock news that the festival would not continue, CEO, Noura al-Kaabi of Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi said: “Over the last few years we have built a strong foundation for a self-sustaining film and television industry. It is now the right time to deepen our commitment and further develop programmes to take the local industry to the next level.”

uma thurman Abu Dhabi Film Festival, ADFF

Uma Thurman during at a talk at Abu Dhabi Film Festival

“We attracted several major international and regional productions to shoot in the emirate over the past two years, which brought large-scale investment, further built the film industry infrastructure in the region, and created significant opportunities for local talent.”

While it might be the end of Hollywood in the UAE capital, the new move is set to pave the way for projects that solely support local and Arab talent and further attract filmmakers to the region. The emirate is already popular with film makers with movies including Sex And The City 2, Fast & Furious 7 and Star Wars: Episode VII all using its desert and city landscape as a backdrop.

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival launched in 2007 as the Middle East International Film Festival, before changing its name in 2009. The organisation made its announcement on Twitter, revealing to it 36.1k followers that “The Abu Dhabi Film Festival has come to a close to focus on a new era in Abu Dhabi’s film industry.” The news was met with great sadness from fans with one saying: “That’s very disappointing. Big mistake!.. What do we do now?” Answering that question the organisation tried to placate its followers posting: “Thank you to everyone who supported ADFF. Please follow us on @2454abudhabi to find out about future film industry activities and events.”

I guess all we can say is, what this