15th March, 2015


For the second consecutive year Image Nation is giving four Emiratis the chance to jumpstart their film careers with study at La Femis, the prestigious French national film school.

Financed by Image Nation and Total, the five-week Gulf Film Program focuses on filmmaking theory and practical skills taught by La Femis’ top tutors. Students will also have an opportunity to delve into French film culture first-hand.

Upon completion of their study in Paris the students will produce a short film which they can present at film festivals all over the world.

Gehad Darwish, Marketing Manager of Image Nation said of the partnership:  “The Gulf Film Program is a fantastic opportunity for Emirati filmmakers to learn the art of filmmaking from some of the leading international industry experts.

“We were more than happy to sponsor the program for a second year and hope that this becomes a staple of Image Nation’s already flourishing training and development department.”

The Gulf Film Program is one of many training and development courses Image Nation provides throughout the year, offering regional filmmakers the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the movie industry, both at home and abroad. Other major programs include the Arab Film Studio training narrative filmmaking and documentary filmmaking initiatives, the Enjazz Dubai Film Festival grant, and the NYU Summer Filmmakers’ Workshop.

Marc Nicolas, Director General of La Fémis said: “We are very pleased to welcome young aspiring filmmakers from the UAE in our school for five weeks. We hope this training program will help them develop their skills, discover the diversity of our French cinema and contribute to establishing a professional basis back in the UAE.”

La Femis has been ranked as one of the top 10 film schools in the world by Hollywood Reporter and its alumni have previously won the Cannes Palme d’Or and Venice Golden Lion.

Alicia Gonzalez, Image Nation Head of Training and Development, said: “The La Femis Gulf Film Program is an integral component of our training and development efforts. “It represents a wonderful chance for local talent to immerse themselves in world class film study and then to apply those skills back in the UAE.”

Last year’s participants have already gone on to become award-winning filmmakers. Mohamed Swaidan, won the Muhr Emirati Jury Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival with his short film ‘The Confession’, shot during his placement in Paris.

“The first edition of the La Femis Gulf Film Program summer school ended up being both an academic and professional learning experience and a personal journey for the young Emiratis who took part of the program last year and we hope, thanks to Image Nation Abu Dhabi and the support of Total UAE, to welcome many more to Paris in the years to come,” said HE Michel Miraillet, Ambassador of France to the UAE.

“The French film industry is among the most important in the world and we are proud to support the emerging of a film community in the UAE, along with the Abu Dhabi authorities, to strengthen our strategic partnership. “ The course will commence in early August 2015.

Image Nation is currently accepting applications for the four places. It is open to Emiratis aged 21 to 30. Entrants will be selected from varied backgrounds and careers who demonstrate a budding interest in filmmaking.