Image Nation Abu Dhabi has announced this year’s participants for two of its Arab Film Studio programmes.
Shortlisted from hundreds of applications, this year’s 14 participants hail from across the region and include award-winning directors and recent film and media graduates looking to perfect their filmmaking skills.
Eight aspiring writers will join the AFS Scriptwriting programme in association with Dubai Film Market, the industry arm of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). The five-month programme will focus on all aspects of the craft, from conception to character development, culminating in live pitching sessions to a panel of internationally-acclaimed industry experts at DIFF later this year.
Six promising filmmakers will join the successful AFS Documentary programme, which will take students on a six-month journey that mirrors the real process of developing and producing a documentary film. Participants will vie to secure an internship with Image Nation’s documentary department, responsible for internationally acclaimed productions such as He Named Me Malala and Anwar Roma.
Emirati writer and mother of three, Sajida Al Muallemi, who has joined the AFS Scriptwriting programme, is developing a project that tackles issues not always discussed in Emirati culture, and hopes it will resonate with other women in the region.
The 34-year-old mother said: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s scriptwriting program, which I hope will bring me closer to working in the UAE’s film and entertainment industry. I’m looking forward to improving my craft so that I can put my experiences to paper, and eventually share them with the world on the big screen.”
Alicia Gonzalez, Head of Training & Development at Image Nation, said: “We have a very committed group of participants this year, bringing a diverse set of backgrounds and life experiences to their work. We look forward to supporting them in the coming months and are excited to see their unique scripts and films become a reality.”
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation commented: “The Arab Film Studio programmes underpin Image Nation’s commitment to growing the region’s film industry. We know the importance of equipping the next generation of filmmakers with the expertise and tools to kick start their careers.”
“Each year, the caliber of participants gets better and better. This year we are impressed to see so many accomplished filmmakers joining to hone their skills — it’s a testament to the quality and success of Arab Film Studio.”