In pictures: 5 things to know about... The UAE's film industry
With the 14th edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) taking place until December 13, we take a look back at the young but fast-growing film business in the country
DIFF 2017 will showcase more than 120 films from the Arab world and beyond. 1. UAE’s first full-length movie: Abr Sabeel by Ali Al Abdul is believed to be the first full-length movie filmed in the UAE, according to research by Professor Alejandra Cubero at Zayed University. While it was completed in 1989, it was never released in a commercial theatre. 2. Attracting foreign outfits: The UAE has created a number of commissions, such as the Abu Dhabi Film Commissions and Dubai Film & TV Commissions, to encourage the production of foreign films in the country, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Fast & Furious 7. 3. Market potential: The MENA region has a media market worth $26.4bn, according to global consultancy PWC, which is expected to grow 7.4 percent to $35bn by 2020, making it the second-fastest growing media market in the world. 4. Industry support: Funding for UAE films remains a challenge, though many projects are backed by DIFF’s Enjaaz Fund, which supports first and second-time filmmakers in the region. Arab filmmakers have argued that Western funds are crucial to developing the region’s industry. 5. Encouraging local talent: Abu Dhabi government-owned company Image Nation has invested in larger-scale Emirati productions to encourage bigger, more commercial Arabic-language films. These include The Worthy, directed by Ali Mostafa, who made Dubai-inspired movie City of Life.