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Tue 1 Nov 2011 06:09 PM

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UAE movie producer launches new talent initiative

Arab Film Studio will encourage growth of region's film industry, says Image Nation

UAE movie producer launches new talent initiative
Contagion has been produced by Abu Dhabis Image Nation (Bloomberg Images)

Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the UAE-based film production company, said on Tuesday is has launched the Arab Film Studio in a bid to develop local talent.

Launched in partnership with Twofour54 Tadreeb, the programme is a five-year commitment to help develop local film talent in the UAE and encourage the growth of the film industry in the Arab region.

Arab Film Studio will identify, train and foster budding Emirati filmmakers, providing them with the discipline and training needed for successful careers in the film industry, Image Nation said in a statement.

Arab Film Studio will host a series of competitions to help identify promising film talent, the statement added.

Mohammed Al Mubarak, chairman of Image Nation, said: "Our goal at Image Nation is to be a magnet for aspiring filmmakers. There is a wealth of talent in the UAE and we are committed to spearheading programs that sharpen their skills and create compelling platforms for their voices to be heard. We're confident Arab Film Studio will deliver on both of these aims."

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, added: "At Image Nation we're committed to producing a robust slate of Emirati films, but the limited pool of talent ready to make feature films is a great challenge.

"So our mission as a company has been redefined - we're now also focused on training and developing aspiring young filmmakers so together we can bring their stories and ideas to the big screen."

Sea Shadow, the first film in Image Nation Abu Dhabi's Emirati slate, recently premiered at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

It will be opening in theatres throughout the GCC on November 17. The film was directed by Emirati director Nawaf Al-Janahi, based on a script by Mohammed Hassan Ahmed.

Mohammed Al Otaiba, head of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, said: "We want to help remove the obstacles that face many aspiring filmmakers. In launching Arab Film Studio we are targeting talent, irrelevant of their level of experience. For the Short Film Competition our only criteria is creativity - the more original the idea the better."

Competition winners will participate in rigorous courses covering all aspects of the filmmaking process. Designed and run in partnership with Twofour54 Tadreeb, the courses will mirror every step of making films - from pitching, developing an idea, and writing the script, to budgeting, casting, and post-production.

Last month, Image Nation said it had launched a new company structure and corporate brand.

The company has created two distinct divisions to "better align its core objectives", it said in a statement, with Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Image Nation International.

Through its partnership with Participant Media, Image Nation International co-produced two films currently in strong spots at the US box office - The Help, which spent 25 days at the top of the box office, and Contagion, which opened in the top spot and has grossed nearly $68m in less than a month in theatres.