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Sat 22 Jun 2019 02:20 AM

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Female Emirati director to start Dubai horror movie filming

Dubai Film and TV Commission backs The Shadow, a horror film directed by Nayla Al Khaja

Female Emirati director to start Dubai horror movie filming
Nayla Al Khaja, the Emirati female filmmaker and producer.

The Shadow, a horror film directed by Nayla Al Khaja, the Emirati female filmmaker and producer, will begin principal photography in Dubai with the support of the Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC).

Horror film The Shadow, produced by Epic Films and Señorita Films, is set to be filmed in the upcoming months.

Using the Emirati dialect, the story of a sick nine-year-old in the grip of uncontrolled phenomena – and the desperate measures his mother takes behind closed doors to save his life – is based on actual events that Al Khaja experienced herself.

DFTC said it has worked closely with the director to fast-track the process and obtain all necessary filming permits.

A DFTC spokesperson said: “We are proud to contribute to this project and support talented local directors such as Nayla. DFTC is committed to offering services that help Emirati filmmakers achieve their goals and propel them onto the international stage, in line with the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021that aims at cementing Dubai’s positon as a hub for creative and empowered people.”

Over the last few years, Dubai has emerged as one of the top choices for international filmmakers. Several Bollywood and Hollywood films, including Mission:Impossible, Zero, Star Trek, Happy New Year, Kong Fu Yoga and Vanguard have been filmed in the emirate.

In 2018, DFTC said it issued a total of 980 filming permits, and introduced a one working day turnaround time for issuing permits.

Al Khaja said: “Worldwide, only five percent of women directors specialise in this genre. I’m genuinely hoping to inspire more women in the region to follow my lead and venture into filming difficult topics based on more hard-hitting narratives. The UAE lacks female feature film directors of a certain calibre, and it’s about time we see a change in this category.”