Shooting of Emirati Filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja’s New Horror Film Commences

Monday 17 June 2019
Nayla Al Khaja
Dubai - MENA Herald:

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

Horror film The Shadow is the teaser version of an extended feature set to be filmed in the upcoming months. Starring locally based actors and 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.

To ensure a seamless filming and production experience, DFTC worked closely with the director to fast-track the process and obtain all necessary filming permits. The commission also played a vital role in providing networking opportunities for Al Khaja, as well as connecting her with Emirati actors to be cast in the film.

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 2021 that aims at cementing Dubai’s positon as a hub for creative and empowered people.”

He added: “Over the last few years, Dubai has emerged as one of the top choices for international filmmakers due its unique geographical location and state-of-the-art infrastructure. Several Bollywood and Hollywood films, including Zero, Star Trek, Happy New Year, Kong Fu Yoga and Vanguard, have been filmed in the emirate.

“We are pleased to see the film industry booming here, especially with local filmmakers producing more projects. In 2018, we issued a total of 980 filming permits, which demonstrates Dubai’s potential to become a global film production hub. In line with our continued efforts to streamline the filming process, we introduced a one working day turnaround time for issuing permits to keep up with the requirements of this fast-paced industry.”

Famous for tackling thought-provoking topics and filming tense narratives without compromising on her artistic integrity, audacious director Al Khaja, who aspires to become a thriller/horror Emirati film director, has reached a level of maturity and experience in her career that allows her to achieve her lifelong ambition.

She said: “Worldwide, only five per cent 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.”

Robbie McAree, Executive Producer and Founding Partner of Epic Films, describes the film as “a unique approach to the genre, implementing a production model that will set new standards for the local independent film industry.”

McAree said: “We encourage local and international investors and cinema enthusiasts in general, to get involved in future movie projects in the UAE. Our production value is undoubtedly reaching the calibre of international productions and we pride ourselves on utilising as many locally based movie professionals as possible. The bottom line is to showcase local talent and highlight the huge potential of the UAE’s film industry. The Shadow is a teaser that, hopefully, will help raise funds for the feature film and create employment opportunities for local screen workers.”

Featuring acclaimed director of photography Mik Allen, The Shadow’s crew will shoot across several locations in Dubai during the month of June, with an expected public release of the film at a launch event in Dubai in September 2019 scheduled to take place with the support of VOX Cinemas.

McAree added: “From talented crews to diverse locations, Dubai has been steadily building its reputation as a regional film industry leader and a destination of choice for local and international productions.”

Search form