Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Timur Bekmambetov to Launch an Accelerator Program for Screenlife Films in the UAE

Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Timur Bekmambetov to Launch an Accelerator Program for Screenlife Films in the UAE
  • The aim of the program is to choose four projects from local filmmakers to then be developed into feature films

Image Nation Abu Dhabi has teamed up with Hollywood filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov and his production banner Bazelevs to launch the Screenlife Accelerator Program in the UAE. This initiative is designed to train local talent – both UAE nationals and residents – in this innovative digital filmmaking format, where the action is entirely set on computer and smartphone screens.


Visionary director Bekmambetov is the pioneer of screenlife films. His productions, Unfriended and Searching, were box office hits, earning $65 million and $75 million respectively against a budget of $1 million. The latest installment in the subgenre, Missing, grossed $48.8 million and topped the Netflix movie chart in the US last summer. The pioneering screenlife format has earned his film and TV production company Bazelevs a spot among the top 10 most innovative video companies in the world by Fast Company. Bekmambetov is currently working on his new Amazon MGM thriller Mercy, starring Chris Pratt and Rebecca Ferguson.


The Screenlife Accelerator Program, initiated by Bekmambetov’s film and TV production company Bazelevs and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, aims to develop four feature films in the screenlife format and continue to establish the UAE as one of the emerging hubs for digital filmmaking in the region. Through its partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Bazelevs intends to expand the popularity of screenlife films across the Middle East and add it to key film markets like South Korea, India, and the UK, where the company has previously launched accelerator programs and secured strategic partnerships for local movie productions in the screenlife format.


Ben Ross, Acting CEO of Image Nation, said: “How we create and consume content is changing at an unprecedented rate thanks to technological advances and changing viewing patterns. The Screenlife Accelerator Program is an opportunity for filmmakers to be at the forefront of this evolution, challenging how we think about moviemaking and pioneering an exciting new format as we continue to build a successful and sustainable film and entertainment industry across the GCC and wider MENA region.”


Timur Bekmambetov, Hollywood filmmaker, founder of film and TV production company Bazelevs, said: “Screenlife offers the fastest way to break into the film industry. It’s quicker and less expensive to produce than traditional films, but most importantly it captures the new reality of spending much of our lives on digital screens — a transition traditional cinema struggles to reflect. I hope the accelerator program in Abu Dhabi will popularize screenlife in the growing MENA film market and pave the way for establishing a worldwide community of screenlife filmmakers.”


The accelerator program in Abu Dhabi is open for aspiring and experienced filmmakers who are expected to have at least a basic understanding of scriptwriting, directing, and production, as well as an interest in telling stories in a screenlife format. Twenty finalists will undergo an intensive 12-week course divided into three phases. The first phase focuses on acquiring the essential technical tools for making a screenlife film. The second phase revolves around the development and packaging of the participants’ projects by refining their concepts and narratives, while also learning about budgeting and planning for the execution of their projects. The final phase sees participants working collaboratively on a proof of concept and a pitch.

For more information, and to apply, visit


Applications are open now and the deadline for submission is August 10.