Image Nation Abu Dhabi kicked-off its third Arab Film Studio Young Filmmakers program in collaboration with New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi, earlier this month.
Eleven Emirati high-school students, between the ages of 14 and 16, are participating in the three-week workshop that teaches the essence of filmmaking with the help of the region’s top industry professionals.
Sixteen year-old Rashed Kabbani from Dubai is one of the participants in this year’s program. The aspiring young filmmaker has already shown his aptitude for the industry, completing an internship earlier this year on one of Image Nation’s upcoming projects RASHID & RAJAB.
Kabbani said: “I’m grateful to be selected in this year’s Arab Film Studio program. I hope to be a director one day and I strongly believe this workshop will open the door to the filmmaking industry and I look forward to learning as much as I possibly can about it.”
By the end of the program the students, who come from across the UAE, will produce and direct their own one-minute film to be screened at a special Arab Film Studio ceremony planned for the end of the year.
Alicia Gonzalez, head of training and development at Image Nation, said: “We are pleased to welcome our newest semester of students, who are the youngest group to date. They are the next generation of local filmmakers in the UAE and we are committed to supporting their development at every level – from exposing them to the different career opportunities, to providing them with the tools and confidence to pursue their aspirations.”
NYU Abu Dhabi Program Head of Film and New Media, Scandar Copti, is leading the three week course that will run until July 20 at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus. The Palestinian filmmaker’s full-length feature film AJAMI (co-directed by Yaron Shani) won the Camera d'Or Special Mention and was nominated for the 82nd Academy Awards. He said: “We’re of course proud to again partner with Image Nation Abu Dhabi on this great initiative. We look forward to the next three weeks alongside these young people to not only help them develop, but also show them what an incredible career awaits them within the industry.”
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, added: “The quality of this year’s students is extremely encouraging for the UAE and for the region’s filmmaking community. Image Nation is more committed than ever to investing in local talent, while contributing to the growth of a sustainable filmed entertainment industry that makes local careers a possibility.”
The Young Filmmakers program is one of four courses under the Arab Film Studio umbrella, which also includes Narrative, Documentary, and Scriptwriting in partnership with Dubai Film Market. One of the only dedicated film education resources in the region, Arab Film Studio, under Image Nation’s Mawaheb initiative, provides aspiring filmmakers a platform to get involved in the ever-growing local film industry.