30th July, 2017


Eight aspiring writers join Image Nation’s AFS Scriptwriting program, in association with Dubai International Film Festival and Six promising filmmakers join the AFS Documentary program

July 30, Abu Dhabi: Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Middle East, has announced this year’s participants for two of its prestigious Arab Film Studio programs.


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 program in association with Dubai Film Market, the industry arm of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). The five-month program 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 program, 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 prestigious 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 program, 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 said “The Arab Film Studio programs 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.”


Image Nation launched Arab Film Studio in 2011 to help develop the next generation of filmmakers in the UAE and the region.  It is the only dedicated, free film training program in the UAE, and hosts separate courses for Narrative, Documentary, Scriptwriting and Young Filmmakers.  AFS Young Filmmakers was recently launched in association with NYU, to offer multi-disciplinary training to budding Emirati filmmakers in High School.


To date over 70 participants have completed AFS programs, many of whom have garnered accolades for their films and started burgeoning careers in the UAE film industry.  AFS films have been selected by more than 130 international festival selections from around the world, including HotDocs, LA Film Festival and DOC NYC.


For more information on Arab Film Studio, visit