Heritage Film Festival 2012 in Abu Dhabi

The second year of the Heritage Film Festival is back this week in Abu Dhabi from 22nd-25th February. Presented by the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, the theme this year is The Young and the Old. The open-air film festival will take place at the Heritage Village and will screen short and full feature films from the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Switzerland. Here's the line up: 


Wednesday, 22nd February

Al Seefah (The Beach) 
Director: Mohammed Ghanim Al Marri
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Duration: 5 min

With new fishing laws in effect, local fishermen are struggling to preserve their ancestors' way of life. This film portrays an old fisherman who reminisces about the days when it was possible for anyone to throw their nets into the sea without having to pay fines.

Gregory's Greatest Adventure
Director: Johannes Kiefer
Language: German with English subtitles
Duration: 11 min

Gregory lives with his beloved and frail grandmother, whose legs grow worse every day. Her girlfriends are urging her to join them at the nursing home. But grandson Gregory loves her dearly – and is a gifted inventor. When he learns that granny is able to walk in water without feeling any pain, he comes up with a brilliant idea…

Le mensonge est une affaire de famille (Lying is a family matter)
Director: Etienne Rey
Language: French with English subtitles
Duration:  15 min

A blind 65-year-old man has been living at his daughter's place for four years. One night, he unknowingly signs a registration form for a nursing home. His family spends the following weekend wondering when they should tell him the truth, with time their true nature is revealed.

Director: Nujoom Al Ghanem

Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Subtitles: English
Durarion: 87 min

Hamama is a nearly 90-year-old female healer and living legend in the Emirates. Blessed with an incredible gift of healing she has to face her fragility and age that threaten to impact her work and her livelihood. Her skills are incredibly valuable to hundreds who continue to visit her each day where she lives in Al Dhaid in Sharjah, seeking her essential cures. Yet, Hamama struggles with the responsibility of providing the care that is so greatly needed, while she confronts her own personal hardships.


Thursday, 23rd February

Director: Manal Wicki
Language: Arabic, English
Duration: 7 min

Layers is a short documentary which explores the abaya, the national dress of Emirati women – an inter-generational dialogue provides a closer look. The film uncovers the diverse abaya styles, drawing attention to the rich variety of values, attitudes and ideas surrounding this mode of dress. At the same time, it demonstrates how these elements co-exist and evolve side-by-side. The film proposes that the abaya is more than a piece of clothing – it is rather a means of self-expression and identity.

La clé des champs
Director: Floriane Closuit
Language: French with English subtitles
Duration: 14 min

On a beautiful summer day a teenage girl is on her way to visit her great-grandmother who recently is admitted to a nursing home. Her mother and grandmother are accompanying her… an unexpected moment of happiness and joy is shared between an elderly woman and a young girl…

Almanya - Welcome to Germany
Director: Yasemin Şamdereli
Language: German with English subtitles
Duration: 101 min

Hüseyin Yilmazcame to Germany in the early 1960s as a “guest worker” and later brought along his wife and children so they could be in “Almanya” with him where they had finally settled down. In the meantime, his children and grand-children definitely feel at home in the foreign country. But are they Germans or are they Turks? All family members struggle with this question their own way. One evening, during a big family gathering, Hüseyin surprises his loved ones with the news that he has bought a house in Turkey and wants to take everyone back “home” with him. Hüseyin refuses to take no for an answer and so they have no choice but to set off for Turkey. It’s the beginning of a journey full of memories, arguments and reconciliations – until the family outing takes an unexpected turn...


Friday, 24th February

Director: Max Zähle
Language: German with English subtitles
Duration: 10 min


Tidelander is a film about a fairly regular family. With a wink of an eye, the film depicts the individual peculiarities of each family member and the misunderstandings that occur between them while being left on their own during a tour through the wide spaces of the tideland. For a little while we accompany the family members on their journey and let them take their track to the next level: a short moment of happiness arises in which they realize that they are family after all.

Dinner #7665
Director: Salma Serry
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Duration: 5 min

A young Egyptian girl struggles to ask her emotionally-distant father for the one thing she really wants: a red balloon. What starts off as a typically quiet dinner takes a darker turn by revealing a strained relationship. 

Dinner #7665 is a window to unspoken words, overstrung emotions and the differences that set their worlds apart.

Director: Fredi M. Murer
Language: German with English subtitles
Duration: 120 min

Vitus is a boy who almost seems to be from another planet: He has hearing like a bat, he plays piano like a virtuoso and studies encyclopedias at the age of five. No wonder his parents are beginning to anticipate a brilliant future for him. They want Vitus to become a pianist. However, the little genius prefers to do arts and crafts in his eccentric grandfather’s workshop. He dreams of flying and of a normal childhood. Ultimately, with one dramatic leap, Vitus takes control of his own life.


Saturday, 25th February

Alice - Paris
Director: Stefan Muggli
Language: German with English subtitles
Duration: 22 min


Alice wants to study photography in Paris. She's waiting for the letter of admission from the College of Arts. Her father Werner doesn’t think much of her artistic aspiration and even hides the positive answer of her admission. Father and daughter don't seem capable of communicating with each other; they increasingly feel alienated from each other. A hanky-panky with the Spanish housekeeper Isabel, makes the situation escalate.

The Little Nazi
Director: Petra Lüschow
Language: German with English subtitles
Duration: 14 min

The Wölkel family wants to celebrate Christmas with grandma, as they do every year – but there seems to be some shocking surprises to be unwrapped at this year’s traditional German Christmas party: Grandma Wölkel has revived the Nazi Christmas of her childhood. Maybe this shouldn’t be such a major problem, but today of all days, the family is expecting an Israeli guest – and the last thing the Wölkel family wants is to be perceived as Nazis. Only an unexpected coincidence helps the family to deny the truth. 

Sea Shadow
Director: Nawaf Al-Janahi
Language: Arabic  with English subtitles
Duration: 98 min


From a small seaside community all the way to Abu Dhabi, the story follows two teenagers who start a journey of self-discovery after their lives have been shaken by misunderstandings, confusions and poor decisions. Small-town boy Mansoor (Omar Al Mulla) has strong feelings for his neighbor, Kaltham (Neven Madi). But culture and convention, as well as family hardship, make it difficult for him to express himself freely. When his know-it-all friend Sultan (Abrar Al Hamad) convinces him that it is a gift to express his love, Mansoor looks for ways to save money without arousing the suspicion of his family. Bound by deeply-rooted values, this couple must find the courage to forge their own paths. 

With a simple story unfolding within a gentle pace, Al-Janahi creates a longing for a time when life was more about community-spirit than materialism. Sea Shadow examines how values are prioritized in modern society, and how human connections are made.


Event details
Dates: 22nd-25th February, starting at 7.30pm each night
Venue: The Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi (location map)
Free entry.

Heritage Film Festival

Goethe Institut Gulf Region