25th October, 2015


Emirati filmmakers, policy makers and students celebrate advancements in Emirati Cinema

London, October 19, 2015: Image Nation Abu Dhabi, a leading media and entertainment company in the Middle East, has teamed up with the British Council for a pioneering UAE/UK cultural exchange event in London.

A delegation of Emirati filmmakers, policy makers and students studying in London, met up with guests of the British Council today (October 17) to share ideas about arts and creativity and give an insight into the Emirati film industry.

The cultural exchange event coincides with an exciting time for Image Nation, which had four of its productions screen at the BFI London Film Festival, including two local productions – Majid Al Ansari’s Zinzana, and Ali Mostafa’s hit road trip comedy, From A to B.

Among the guests were the UAE Ambassador to the UK, HE Ambassador Almutaiwee, and the UK Ambassador to the UAE, HE Ambassador Parham. They were able to meet directors Mostafa and Al Ansari, who spoke about their achievements in filmmaking.

Mostafa is best known for City of Life, the 2009 film considered the first Emirati blockbuster.  Since releasing last year’s From A to B, he has been working onWorthy, his next feature film with Image Nation.

Al Ansari started his career as an intern at Image Nation. His first feature film,Zinzana produced by Image Nation, received critical acclaim following its world premiere at the leading genre film festival, Fantastic Fest, last month.

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, said: “We are delighted that two of our Emirati films had their European premieres at the prestigious BFI London Film Festival and wanted to come together to create this important milestone in Emirati cinema and to acknowledge the special relationship and commitment to the arts that the UAE and the UK share.”

Marc Jessel, UAE Country Director at the British Council, said the organization was honored to have partnered with Image Nation and anticipated many more collaborations.

Mr Jessel said: “We’re truly delighted to have partnered with Image Nation to bring the most exciting emerging Emirati talent today to LFF.  Film is a very powerful medium for cultural relations and we hope that we can work on many more projects together in future.’

“Both of our organizations see the immense value in sharing cultural ideas and our first official collaboration was a great success, leaving guests with a new-found knowledge of the Emirati media industry.”

Ambassador Almutaiwee said of the event: “I am sure in the future there will be many more films from the UAE in this festival.  Nonetheless, it is a remarkable achievement for Image Nation to have three films included in 2015.  They are leading the way when it comes to Emirati cinema but this is only the beginning.  Our part of the world has many great stories to tell.”

Emirati student, Noora Al Qasimi from Sharjah, who is studying in London, said: “This is a really exciting time, not only for UAE talent to showcase their work in London, but also for UK audiences to get exposure to these fantastic, creative pieces of work.”

Following the reception, guests went on to attend screenings of Al Ansari and Mostafa’s films.

Image Nation’s He Named Me Malala, distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures, and its international co-productionThe Idol also screened at BFI London Film Festival.