"We want to hold a distinguished position on the map of international festivals and industry of the seventh art,"
added Sheikh Sultan, noting that the appointment of Peter Scarlet as Executive Director "will contribute more to the success and development of the Festival.
MEIFF was launched in October 2007 and had attracted a large number of competitors, stars, and filmmakers at its successful second session that ended on October 2008.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon hoped that this important appointment will make the Festival continue its mission success to become one of the most prominent film festivals in the Middle East and the World.
"We went a long way towards the achievement of its objectives, particularly through attracting one of the most known names which are widely respected in the scene of the US festivals who have the knowledge and enthusiasm about the films produced in this part of the world," said Sheikh Sultan.
Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Director General of ADACH and Vice President of MEIFF praised the appointment of Scarlet as Executive Director.
"The Festival Board, as part of its ongoing quest to attract the best staff for the organization of this important film , has selected one of the most famous festival directors in the world to follow the successful march to the Abu Dhabi festival," said Mazrouei.
"MEIFF managed during a short time to take a privileged position on the map of film festivals in the region and the world," he noted.
"Abu Dhabi is today at an accelerated pace towards achieving its ambition to become a regional and global centre for film production industry, to motivate top global producers to bring their activities to the region, and to benefit from strong infrastructure enjoyed by Abu Dhabi," added Mazrouei.
Eissa Saif Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of the Festival said: "In his six years at Tribeca, Scarlet made it one of the most important showcases for Middle Eastern cinema in all of North America, showing dozens of films from this region, several of which won major prizes at that festival.
In addition he spearheaded a key initiative that brought young filmmakers from NYC and Morocco together at the Marrakech Film Festival for a weeklong series of master classes with Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, who was joined at the blackboard by America's Martin Scorsese. Scarlet's vision of cinema's ability to promote dialogue between different cultures and civilizations is exactly the quality we have been looking for to support our efforts to make Abu Dhabi a global hub for world cinema."
On his part, Scarlet noted: "I couldn't be more excited about this new opportunity," adding that "anyone who's had a chance to spend some time in Abu Dhabi knows that it's a mind-boggling frontier of endless possibilities. My goal is to build upon the solid foundations of MEIFF's first two years, and to help train a staff comprised principally of the many talented and enthusiastic young people I've already started to meet there. And since one of the things I'm proudest of about the years I've worked at film festivals is that over a dozen people who've worked with me have gone on to run important film festivals all over the world, I'm really happy at the prospect of working with new talents in this exciting region."
Scarlet, a Festival veteran, recently stepped down after six years at the Tribeca Film Festival, He is widely credited with playing a key role in helping to put that event solidly on the map after its founding as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on lower Manhattan and in making it an important US showcase for international cinema He had previously directed the San Francisco International Film Festival, the oldest in the US, from 1983 to 2001, a period during which SFIFF was credited with giving World or North American Premieres to major films by such subsequently famed filmmakers as Léos Carax, Jane Campion, Alan Clarke, Jonathan Demme, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Spike Lee, Mike Leigh, Guy Maddin and Errol Morris.. After 19 years at the helm of the Bay Area event, he left for Paris where he served until 2002 as Director General of the Cinémathèque Française, the first time anyone other than a French national had held that prestigious post.
Scarlet has also worked extensively in film production and film education. In 2001 he was named an Officer in France's Order of Arts and Letters by that nation's Ministry of Culture, an honour that followed his having been named a Chevalier in the same order nine years earlier. He has served on film festival juries all over the world, and for the past four years has also served as host and programmer of "Cinemondo," Link TV's world cinema series which is broadcast throughout the US.