UAE establishes National Film Library…making waves in the Gulf Cinema Industry?

dubai film

(Tom Cruise’s Dubai Scene in Mission Impossible IV: Ghost Protocol, featured the Burj Kahlifa building….a symbol of architecture in the UAE and the tallest tower in the world)

At Zayed University, one of three government institutions in the UAE, recently launched a national film library and archive. Annually the country holds seven film festivals: Abu Dahbi Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Emirates Korean Film Festival, Gulf film Festival, Heritage Film Festival, Tropfest Arabia, and the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival.  Over the past two decades, the UAE has put a reasonable amount of financial and social resources into implementing cinema institutions.  Professor Alia Yunis at the College of Communication and Media Studies at Zayed University writes,  “a huge unprecedented investment is being made into the film industry by a rapidly expanding number of government and private film production companies, such as the $1 billion-funded Imagenation…a phenomenon completely alien to Western film educators and students, the opportunities for UAE students far surpasses the number of them willing to search for them” (Yunis 2012). One film that has created a buzz in the UAE film industry is “City of Life” (2009),  the first full-length feature film directed by an Emirati… Ali F. Mostafa. During an interview in 2009 Mostafa said, “I was tired of people comparing Dubai to a Disneyland. Most of them take one look at the glitzy buildings and assume it’s an artificial place. My film has none of that. It has real people with real problems. Like any other city in the world, my film shows both the positives and the negatives.”  Below is Mostafa’s trailer of the film…it resembles styles found in drama films released in the United States.

City of Life Trailer, 2005 (Song: “Humdulillah” by The Narcicyst featuring Shadia Mansour…also seen in Taylor and Nick’s Presentation)

Traditionally films in the UAE featured Emirati actors, however the producers, directors, and other essential productions staffs came from other Arab countries. Citizens of the country would predominately watch films at home…until the early 2000’s when movie theaters became a social Emirati trend. With the UAE’s support of the nations transition into the film industry, it is expected to be a booming enterprise.

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