DUBAI // Filming has begun on a documentary focusing on seven UAE residents who suffer from a blood disorder.
The feature-length film Ismi (My Name Is) highlights living with thalassaemia and how it affects families.
The crew, led by director and writer Wassim Beydoun, went to Fujairah to interview patients last week.
"Fujairah has been beautiful and so hospitable," Beydoun said. "There are 87 patients at the thalassaemia centre in Fujairah, it feels like a close-knit community here."
Shooting in the emirate will wrap up next week.
"We are still trying to find Thalassaemia patients in Dubai who are willing to be filmed," Beydoun said. "We had about 20 boys and girls volunteer in Fujairah, which was surprising.
"The project has exceeded my expectations. I'm not an emotional person but some of what the patients have said on camera has really struck a chord with me. The story of the film is evolving with every interview.
"Sadly this disease still carries a taboo connotation - they don't want people's pity so they hide it."
Beydoun said discrimination against thalassaemia patients still exists.
"There is a very misleading and misguided prejudice in schools and clubs. These people are just like us, they can do anything we can. Some of them are avid athletes running and playing football. They are in better shape than I am, not frail or sickly."
"That said it is really amazing the way thalassemia is treated in the UAE, it is unbelievable what they do here," said Beydoun. "Regardless of your race, beliefs, nationality or income, everyone gets the same treatment, there is full support for sufferers."
In some cases if the patient's family have limited income, the government will even cover the school fees said Beydoun.
The project has partnered with Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Humanitarian and Scientific Foundation.