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Tanya Khoury: Celluloid dreams
November 30, 2012
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The plot is thickening for the UAE’s film industry as young, prolific filmmakers with global aspirations get hungry to leave their imprint on the silver screen
What an era it is shaping up to be for the UAE cinema and it can only get better from here. With 32 short films out of the total of 36 in this year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival coming from the UAE, the future is oh so bright. With upcoming directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, you name it, the country is bubbling with young energy that is hungry to create and inspire.

Currently in the UAE there are a total of three film festivals that eagerly await the submissions from the talented upcoming and rising stars, their work ranging from features to documentaries and animated work. The pool of talent is immense and it would be unfair just to name only a few, and if I could I would gladly name all the inspiring youngsters out there that have been participants of those festivals. This, however, is a collective effort and spirit; this is how the arts and particularly film becomes a pillar that students thrive to be associated as well as be a part of.

There have been several titles that began making a mark within the international film industry and by default that created a bigger splash in the UAE. Collaborations with studios, as well as creating a hub for filmmakers to utilise local facilities gives artists a better chance to deliver and sustain home-grown talent.

What has been very apparent in the shorts as well as the full-length features that have been released by the UAE film industry is the cultural importance and the mark that it leaves with one’s experience. What struck me the most, especially in the latest installation of films at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, is the rawness with which the scripts and performances are being developed by these upcoming filmmakers. They are not following your regular formula but are making a mark for themselves by thinking outside the box, literally. Some films are shot in different styles; some are without any dialogue and therefore, open to interpretation, whilst others are filled with emotional and dramatic dialogues.

Although the film industry here in the UAE is still at a young age, the rate in which it is growing is impressive, and the willingness to learn and participate is strong. Opinions and observations develop into ideas that quickly find themselves on the pieces of paper that turn into a short or a full-fledged budget film. This is how things are meant to be done and this is the best way forward. I can’t wait to see what the UAE filmmakers have in store for us at the last festival of the year, viz., The Dubai International Film Festival.
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