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London in Abu Dhabi

Date posted: 06.11.2013

If you missed Abu Dhabi in the Bourne Legacy, maybe that's because it doubled so effectively as Karachi, Pakistan. With a thriving economy and astounding cityscape jutting out of the Persian Gulf, a stone's throw from the impressive Tal Mireb sand dune, Abu Dhabi is ready and eager to make its mark in the international film industry.

Film London and British Film Commission CEO Adrian Wootton attended the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, participating in an all-star jury for Best Narrative Feature, led by Jacki Weaver, and sharing best practise from the UK's success in attracting film business.

Awarding A Touch of Sin

As member of the Narrative Feature jury, Wootton was in great company. The jury was presided over by two-time Oscar nominated actress Weaver, and fellow members included award-winning producer Dora Bouchoucha, CEO of EYE Film Institute Netherlands Sandra den Hamer and actress/director Hiam Abbass, this year's winner of the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival Black Pearl Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Best Narrative Feature Award, worth $100,000, went to the venerable Sixth Generation Chinese film-maker Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin (Tian zhu ding).

The film, which won the best screenplay award when it screened in competition at Cannes, weaves four disparate stories of contemporary China.

The jury also awarded the Special Jury Award ($50,000) to My Sweet Pepper Land directed by Hiner Saleem. The film depicts a small town on the border of Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

British/Italian Uberto Pasolini's second film Still Life picked up the top award in the New Horizons competition. A British comedy drama about a case worker (Eddie Marsan) who tracks down relatives of the deceased, the film shot widely across London.

Location, Location, Location

While in Abu Dhabi, Wootton also participated in a Locations panel on attracting film shoots to Abu Dhabi - sharing experience and best practise.

Abu Dhabi offers a new tax incentive for international productions and will soon be home to shooting Fast & Furious 7. With the city preparing for an influx of international productions, the Locations panel came at a perfect time to advise on populating databases, building infrastructure and supporting studios.

Wootton said that alongside the UK's competitive tax credit, the country has further been able to benefit from "one of the largest film training programmes in the world, it's a partnership that government put down and the challenge was to get the industry to match that, and they have. The incentive gives you a place at the table, but for repeat business it's about the quality of the infrastructure and the quality of your crews."

Wootton also spoke of the UK's new animation and high-end television tax reliefs, which recently lured Fox to shoot the new series of 24 in London.

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