12th December, 2014


Image Nation today revealed plans to create more locally-produced documentaries following the success of its first factual film premiere at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

‘As One’, a film chronicling the challenges faced by a group of autistic children in the UAE as they rehearsed for and performed a musical show, had its first public screening on Saturday to rave reviews from media and audiences alike.

On the sidelines of the festival, Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, said the Abu Dhabi-based film production company plans to significantly invest in its portfolio of documentary films and series in coming years. He urged Emiratis to submit their ideas for subjects.

“Our aim is to help create a cadre of talent in the documentary field while also recording pieces of local history,” he said. “We would encourage Emirati and Arab voices to come to us with ideas for films that should be made that capture key moments in time for the UAE. “This country has many, many stories to tell but we need the help of local people in finding them. We’re humbled by the amazing response to ‘As One’ – it motivates us to seek out and produce more films based on life in the UAE.”

Image Nation already has a number of UAE-based documentaries in production, including one chronicling the historic moment the national football team qualified for the 1990 Italian World Cup.

Last week, Image Nation announced that ‘Every Last Child’, a documentary about the struggle against polio in Pakistan, would have its world premiere at this year’s Doc NYC film festival in November.

And in 2013, the company’s documentary division announced it was creating a film about the life of Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, directed by Oscar winner, Davis Guggenheim, and co-produced by Image Nation’s international partner Participant Media.

Garin added: “The documentary division is just one of our many teams helping to fulfill our commitment to the UAE film industry. We had such amazing feedback from ’As One’ at the most recent ADFF and we look forward to showcasing ‘Every Last Child’ and our Malala documentary over the coming months.

“The growth in our documentary division has been outstanding over the past few months.

“With two films completed and a third well on its way, we are immensely proud of the whole team. It’s testament to the growing local film community and helping to put the UAE on the map as a fully-fledged industry.”

As part of Image Nation’s commitment to discovering local talent, the division launched its own Arab Film Studio Documentary competition to find the next big documentary filmmakers. The competition played a role in ADFF this year, with participants pitching their final film ideas to a panel of esteemed judges, made up of ‘Every Last Child’ filmmaker Tom Roberts, Saudi film producer Hani Farsi, and Image Nations’ Alicia Gonzalez, AFS Program Manager and Danielle Perissi, the head of the documentary division.

The winner, to be announced in 2015, will be awarded an internship with Image Nation’s documentary division, to kick start their dream career.