The Imagenation Abu Dhabi has announced a slate of six Emirati films that it will develop, finance and produce in the next two years.
The company announced plans for its first Emirati feature Sea Shadow during the Cannes Film Festival. The movie will begin filming in the UAE this winter.
The five newly-announced projects cover a range of genres including a horror thriller and a romantic comedy.
“We are particularly proud to announce our slate of Emirati films as it solidly demonstrates our commitment to the film industry in the UAE,” said HE Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, chairman Imagenation Abu Dhabi. “With each of these films we will be working together with some of the most gifted talent in the UAE to produce high-quality films based on local content.”
Imagenation CEO Ed Borgerding said that he believed each of the projects could appeal to international cinema audiences, a sentiment echoed by COO Stefan Brunner.
“This initial line up showcases the close relationships we have developed with some of the most talented filmmakers in the UAE. We are thrilled they have chosen to collaborate with us on these universal stories; projects we believe will advance Emirati cinema and widen the scope of its appeal both regionally and internationally,” said Brunner.
The six projects are:
• Million’s Poet – Inspired by the successful TV show, Million’s Poet follows the struggle of a young Bedouin girl named Salamah, who lives with her father and brother in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Salamah’s greatest passion is poetry, but she is limited by her strict father and the assumptions of society. She makes a deal with her brother to participate in the “Million’s Poet” contest in her stead, but soon their ruse is revealed, leading to a climactic showdown in which Salamah must overcome her worst fears and prove herself to society and her father.
• Djinn - Penned by U.S writer David Tully (Hepzibah), the film centers on the tenants of a new, luxury high-rise built on the site of an abandoned fishing village called Al Hamra who discover that someone – or something – has moved in before them. A unique new take on the haunted house tale, Djinn explores demonic possession and uncovers the dark, nightmarish truth behind classic fairytales of the Genie .
• Alaska – An adventure comedy written by Ahmed El Arshi, Alaska follows two students from Abu Dhabi studying abroad in the U.S. desperate to join the most popular fraternity on campus, they need to fulfill a certain pledge: having their picture taken at the “Welcome to Alaska” billboard. This sets them off on a road trip filled with culture clashes, kidnapping and runaway pigs – while also teaching them new lessons about friendship, cultural identity and what it means to truly belong.
• Monsoon – Written by Yussef Ibrahim, Monsoon is a romantic comedy set in modern day Abu Dhabi. The film centers on Omar, a popular Emirati talk show host who falls for Mahaba. Omar tries to win the heart of Mahaba’s disapproving Indian mother by showing his love for India, however another conflict arises after a rich Indian suitor proposes. Will love finally triumph over cultural differences?
• Alis and Aishas – A touching romantic comedy set in the 80s, Alis and Aishas chronicles the quest of three young Emirati men in their search for true love. Struggling with the mass shortage of women in their own country, they travel to Egypt and begin a journey filled with cultural differences, linguistic anomalies and life lessons. If one cannot find love in Egypt after all, where can love be found?
• Sea Shadow – Set in an Emirati neighborhood (fireej) where traditions and the local culture make it harder to express love and emotions openly, Sea Shadow follows the story of 16 year-olds Mansour and Kaltham. The teens commence a journey of self discovery that takes them from Ras al Khaima all the way to Abu Dhabi after life in their little fireej is shaken up by misunderstandings, mix-ups, and wrong decisions. Directed by acclaimed Emirati director Nawaf Al-Janahi and written by Mohamed Hassan Ahmad, the film was first announced at the recent Cannes Film Festival.
Source: Imagenation Abu Dhabi