At the 2009 New York Film & Video Awards, a small Dubai-based production team did the UAE proud by winning two gold awards and two silvers for two of their video productions on Breast Cancer Awareness in the Middle East.
Produced by Reim El Houni and directed by Sofia De Fay, the campaign highlighted the importance of checking for signs of breast cancer early on in life. Cameraman Richard Latham and award-winning director De Fay won a silver each for cinematography and direction. Both of the videos won gold awards in the social issues and public information categories. Dubai-based Creative Kingdom facilitated the project and post produced the videos.
“This achievement is an important milestone for the local film industry,” commented producer El Houni.
“As most of the corporate work goes to UK-based film companies, an award like this will hopefully dispel misconceptions that offshore is the way to go in this community, and give Dubai-based companies an opportunity to pitch for more substantial local work.”
The campaigns focused on four breast cancer survivors. However, after watching reams of horrific hospital videos on the subject, director De Fay was determined to present the theme poetically and aesthetically without taking anything away from the essence of those stories.
“This production was a tricky one because we were not doing this with models; we were doing them with actual survivors,” stated De Fay. “We tried to maintain a different background and props for each of the survivors just to give the backdrop a nice look and feel. We got a store in Mall of the Emirates, for instance, to provide us with all the furniture we needed while Proaction provided us with the studio space. We spent a lot of time on the art direction and created creamy lighting for the videos,” De Fay explained.
The team built a room within the studio and painted it several times over to give a different backdrop to suit the story of each survivor. “We did all the house scenes within two days while the commercials were shot in the Hatta mountains as well,” stated El Houni.
The videos were shot on the Sony 900 HDCAM and edited on FCP HD.