Emi­rati di­rec­tor calls for film fund to boost UAE cin­ema

Gulf Business - - NEWS AND VIEWS - By Neil King

Prom­i­nent Emi­rati film­maker Nayla Al Khaja has called on the UAE gov­ern­ment to help fund home-grown movies and boost the coun­try’s cin­ema in­dus­try.

Speak­ing at the launch of a new part­ner­ship be­tween her ini­tia­tive The Scene Club and Roxy Cin­e­mas, Al Khaja said that con­ver­sa­tions with fel­low in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als re­vealed a com­mon feel­ing.

“We dis­cussed this, that there should be some kind of gov­ern­ment fund. It could be raised by cin­ema tick­ets, with a per­cent­age of it go­ing in a fund, and it could fund a few films a year,” she ex­plained.

Al Khaja was com­ment­ing on the im­por­tance of gen­er­at­ing sup­port for the busi­ness side of the UAE’s film in­dus­try, which she be­lieves will come in due course as mo­men­tum builds.

“That’s one side of the in­dus­try that’s never been fo­cused on, and I think that’s why we don’t have that snow­ball ef­fect of mak­ing more films,” she said.

“There’s [Abu Dhabi based me­dia com­pany] Image Na­tion that’s very ac­tive, but we need more pock­ets do­ing that.

“When it comes to the busi­ness side of film­mak­ing, that coun­try lacks film pro­duc­ers and film fi­nanciers. It’s only be­cause the in­dus­try here is ex­tremely young – it’s only been over 10 years, so the in­fra­struc­ture is still grow­ing. I think once we have a film that gen­er­ates a proper in­come for the in­vestor, that will at­tract more films.

“We still have to see that date where we have an in­de­pen­dent film that will make a big noise world­wide that will at­tract in­vestors in the film do­main. Un­til then we will keep push­ing.”

The ac­claimed di­rec­tor ear­lier an­nounced that The Scene and Roxy Cin­e­mas had joined forces to screen in­de­pen­dent and lo­cal films at the cin­ema’s Box Park and City Walk venues in Dubai.

As part of the col­lab­o­ra­tion, a se­ries of talks, work­shops and events, ti­tled Made in the UAE, were launched. Of­fer­ing “tips, tricks and hacks” to as­pir­ing ac­tors and film­mak­ers as well as in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, the monthly episodes will fo­cus on tech­ni­cal el­e­ments of the craft as well as im­por­tant in­dus­try top­ics such as cen­sor­ship, while aim­ing to build a strong com­mu­nity.

The UAE’s film in­dus­try re­ceived a boost at the end of May with the news that the coun­try’s film­mak­ers are now el­i­gi­ble to sub­mit full-length films to the Os­cars, with the first en­tries per­mit­ted for the for­eign lan­guage film cat­e­gory at the 90th Acad­emy Awards in 2018.

Ab­dul­hamid Juma, chair­man of the Dubai In­ter­na­tional Film In­dus­try, called it “another step for­ward to plac­ing UAE film and tal­ent on the world cin­e­matic map”.

Nayla Al Khaja flanked by Roxy Cin­e­mas' man­agers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.