Half of a filmmaker’s job is networking. That’s according to the Emirati film director and screenwriter Abdullah Al Kaabi, who went to the Cannes Film Festival last month.
His trip was sponsored by the Dubai Film and TV Commission, who participated in Cannes for the first time this year as part of the UAE pavilion.
But more important than networking, Abdullah was on a different mission: to greet the cast of his forthcoming feature film. “That was the best opportunity for me to meet them,” he said in the weeks after his return from France.
He could not reveal much as the film has yet to be publicly announced. However, he said it would be “big”.
The Arab family drama “with substance” stars a host of well-established Egyptian and Khaleeji actors, he said, as well as some new faces.
“I didn’t want to go to Egypt due to the situation, so it was perfect for us to meet in Cannes.”
Girls in the Know, which is to be shot in the UAE, will be his first feature film.
“It’s about time I guess,” said the 26-year-old director, who has been a staple in the local film industry for some time.
This year’s visit to Cannes was his fourth. The first time, in 2009, was to prepare for the release of his UAE/French-produced short film, The Philosopher, he said.
The film, starring the French actor Jean Reno (Leon: The Professional, Pink Panther, Mission: Impossible) and filmed in Paris, was the most expensive short film shot in Europe last year, costing Dh1 million.
The funding came from the Dubai-based production house Oursin Films, whose founder, Cyril Deleye, has worked with directors such as Luc Besson and Roman Polanski.
In 2010, Abdullah went back to Cannes to promote The Philosopher. By autumn Abdullah said he will announce the details of Girls in the Know, which he hopes will be yet another contender for the big league.
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