Image Nation to release delayed UAE-made horror film

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Tobe Hooper, left, on the set of Djinn.

Tobe Hooper, left, on the set of Djinn.

Image Nation, Abu Dhabi’s film production arm, is to release the much-delayed, UAE-made horror movie Djinn, which was directed by Tobe Hooper of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist fame, this autumn, the company’s CEO has confirmed.

Nearly three years after it was announced at the Cannes Film Festival, the horror movie is finally set to be released later this year, confounding previous reports it had been permanently shelved by Abu Dhabi authorities.

“We’re thrilled with Djinn. We launched sales at the Berlin festival, we have the poster ready, we’re continuing with sales in Cannes and it will be out in the fall. It’s taken a long time, but we’re really proud of the result,” Image Nation CEO Michael Garin told Arabian Business’ sister publication Digital Studio.

“Basically, the time issues were to do with post [production] and CGI. It’s not just what you capture on film but the audience experience at the end. We needed to make it look and feel like other horror movies they’re seeing. Getting the effects, sounds and music right is a lot harder than people imagine. The rumours [of it being shelved] were all nonsense,” he added.

The film is being released in partnership with Hyde Park Films, who in the past released the 2011 Richard Gere film ‘The Double’ and the Nicholas Cage film ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’.

Last year, online media reports claimed a rough cut of the movie had angered Abu Dhabi authorities and Image Nation had been forced to can it.

"These rumours are unfounded. Djinn is in active post-production, and Image Nation looks forward to releasing the film in theatres later this year," a spokesperson said in January 2012. The film had initial test screenings in London and was due to be screened in LA in late 2012.

The filming of the horror flick was not without controversy. Emirati filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja, who worked as a cultural consultant on the movie, walked off the set in protest at the lack of local input.

“I was the only Emirati on set — all the key players weren’t,” she told Arabian Business in 2011. “It’s nothing against the people at all; it’s just that you couldn’t call it an Emirati film.

“Obviously it’s a movie, and they have to exaggerate and create stuff, but for me, only the second film they made — ‘Sea Shadow’ — was Emirati.”

Image Nation was launched in 2008 as a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company. The company’s film credits include the Hollywood thriller The Double, Contagion and Oscar-winning movie The Help.

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