Films created by participants in Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s flagship training programme Arab Film Studio have now screened over 200 times at prestigious film festivals around the globe, the latest being Ranapakhara by Swapna Kurup which was selected to screen at the Mosaic World Film Festival, Illinois this week.
The milestone comes following the completion of the third edition of Arab Film Studio’s Young Filmmakers programme on 26 July. Run in partnership with NYU Abu Dhabi, this year’s programme brought together 11 Emirati students under the age of 18 to learn about filmmaking through intensive classes, workshops and hands-on experience using NYU Abu Dhabi’s state of the art equipment. Taught by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Scandar Copti, Program Head of Film and Assistant Arts Professor of Film at NYU Abu Dhabi, the programme culminated with participants writing and directing their own one-minute films.
“Our Young Filmmakers programme reflects Image Nation’s significant commitment to inspiring and supporting the next generations of creative professionals to build the region’s film and entertainment industry,” says Michael Garin, Chief Executive Officer, Image Nation. “Over the past six years, Arab Film Studio has provided practical training and education to more than 100 talented participants, from the student participants in Young Filmmakers to emerging professionals. Image Nation is a channel for original and promising ideas to come to life and to see Arab Film Studio projects being recognised around the world is testament to the calibre of work being created.”
“Arab Film Studio was an incredible experience and through the training, mentoring and practical experience I was really able to hone my skills as a filmmaker. On top of this, the programme offers a really supportive platform for the ongoing success of our films. Ranapakhara becoming the 200th AFS film to be selected for a festival is an honour and a really exciting milestone,” says Swapna Kurup, who was awarded the 2016 Arab Film Studio Documentary prize for her 10-minute film that follows an Indian classical dancer who uses dance to help sufferers of Parkinson’s disease in Dubai.
Young Filmmakers is part of a series of Arab Film Studio programmes offered annually by Image Nation, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic-speaking world. The Narrative, Documentary and Scriptwriting programmes are aimed at film students, young professionals and aspiring filmmakers with previous experience.
Over several months, selected participants work with industry experts to develop professional-quality projects, and many have gone on to successful careers in the industry. Winners of the best film award in the Narrative and Documentary categories win the ultimate internship with Image Nation, working with their relative departments, while the winner of the Scriptwriting program receives a 100,000 AED production grant to make their script a reality.
Past participants have gone on to full-time positions within Image Nation, working on Hollywood blockbusters including He Named Me Malala and War Machine as well as having their AFS films showcased at Academy Award-qualifying film festivals.