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Hollywood actress Uma Thurman is in the capital for the final day of the ADFF. She has collaborated with director Quentin Tarantino on numerous films. Her movies include Pulp Fiction, Gattaca and Kill Bill. Image Credit: Alex Westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Celebrated actress Uma Thurman met members of the public yesterday for an intimate, candid and light-hearted discussion titled Conversations with Uma Thurman.

The Hollywood actress spoke about her acting experiences, gave advice for those entering the film industry and even shared some of her beauty secrets.

The event, which took place at the Abu Dhabi Theatre, was part of a series of public discussions, held throughout the fourth annual Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which ends today.

"My grandmother was a stage actress, and ever since I was three years old, I was attracted to theatre projects. All throughout my school years, I was more comfortable on stage than in the classroom. [Acting] was very natural for me," Thurman said.

"I began acting when I was very young; one of my idols is Terry Gillian [from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen] and I met him when I was 17 years old. He cast me in one of his films; it made me dedicate my life to acting," she added.

The 40-year-old star who is perhaps best known for her role as the bride in Kill Bill Volumes I and II, admitted that despite the wide variety of genres in which she has worked, there's one that is close to her heart.

"My favourite genre is musicals; working in one is my secret desire because I am a secret Doris Day fan. I've always wanted to sing and dance, which is why The Producers is a film that I still cherish," she said, laughing.

When asked about the possibility of having more Hollywood films set or financed in the Middle East, she noted that studios are always open to such options.

‘Souq of filmmakers'

"Hollywood studios are always on the lookout for international financing, festivals such as ADFF are like a souq of filmmakers — they are also great on a cultural level. If the West can see just some of the independent films from here, I think it would start a great cultural exchange."

"Also, there are many books that are translated into so many languages, which has created a very strong literary relationship. If only films could do that too," Thurman said.

While the tone of the conversation was mostly light, there were times when the actress, who was named after the Hindu goddess Devi by her father, a noted professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, discussed serious concerns for the film industry.

"I hope that the long form of film - narrative films are very important. We have to make sure that they survive, are translated, are accessible for everyone and that films continue to be shot using 35mm or 70mm film because it would be a tragedy if that way of filming was allowed to die out. Nowadays, it's all about video games, television series, CNN, Bloomberg, headlines scrolling at the bottom of the screen, that will cause our brains to explode," she joked.

Final insight

As the time for the meet and greet session drew to a close, Thurman provided a final insight into her career as an actress.

"When I was younger, I wanted to be an Egyptologist, archeologist, sociologist, underwater archeologist…but I started acting at the age of 16, I didn't go to college, which was a big mistake, but luckily it worked out… and it's been a privilege for me to be working as actress, even 24 years later…I still have a career I love," Thurman said.