Magazine article Screen International

Abu Dhabi Kicks off with Forest Whitaker Honours

Magazine article Screen International

Abu Dhabi Kicks off with Forest Whitaker Honours

Article excerpt

Life of Crime, co-produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, is presented as opening-night gala for festival's seventh edition.

Forest Whitaker kicked off the Abu Dhabi Film Festival's 2013 edition last night with his gracious acceptance of the festival's Black Pearl Career Achievement Award (presented with Jaeger-Le Coultre watches).

Whitaker said he'd researched the significance of black pearls. "There is reference to sacrifice and hard work, with a hope of good future. I'm thankful you think of me in that way," he said, before somewhat surprisingly bursting into song, singing (very well) some Arabic verses.

Director of programming Teresa Cavina said the festival was proud to welcome Life of Crime as its opener for three reasons: "It has a little bit of the heart of Abu Dhabi in it, as it is co-produced by Imagenation Abu Dhabi; it's the last love child of the great writer Elmore Leonard who passed away earlier this year; and it's a fantastic film."

The film, a caustic kidnapping caper set in 1978 Detroit, stars John Hawke, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Tim Robbins and Mark Boone Junior.

Image Nation Abu Dhabi was a producer of the film alongside Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park Entertainment (the companies have previously worked together on films like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.)

"Our international parters are very important to us, because our Emirati filmmakers can get real-world expereience" working on international projects, said Image Nation's CEO Michael Garin. …

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