ABU DHABI // Besides painting, Sheikha Alyazia bint Nahyan Al Nahyan has been busy making her own documentaries and promoting the work of others.
In 2008 she launched her own production company as well as the Anasy Documentary Award, which offers a week-long festival and a total of Dh1.5 million in cash prizes for local and international films, under the patronage of her father, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan. The event is held at varying points throughout the year in Abu Dhabi cinemas, with 2011's yet to be scheduled. Last year the top award went to a Canadian entry called the Last Train Home, a film from the director Lixie Fanabout Chinese peasant workers.
"I really enjoy documentaries, and so I wanted to give this medium more exposure and engage people and get them to see and discuss the various docs produced here and from across the world," said Sheikha Alyazia.
Anasy also works with the United Nation Children Foundation (Unicef) to raise public awareness about child and youth rights, and provides opportunities for youth for active participation in the industry of documentary filmmaking.
The Sheikha also produces her own documentaries through Anasy Media Production Company. Sheikha Alyazia's mother suggested the term Anasy, which is from the Quran and means "my people", to best capture the essence of her venture.
So far she has produced five films, including Home of History... Future's Nation about the UAE's archaeological sites, and Common Grounds, which centres on the complex relationship between the Danish people and Islam since the cartoon controversy in 2005.
She is at work on a new project, which is to be called Hijab and tells the story of the veil in various countries.
"I found out that Fulla, the Muslim version of Barbie that wears a hijab, is not allowed in Tunis," said Sheikha Alyazia.
The doll was banned by Tunisian authorities in 2006 on the grounds it could encourage feuds.