x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Bopcorn & Sawaalef gives budding filmmakers a chance to meet like minds

This month's guest is from the fight specialists Zero Gravity, who will be giving a practical demonstration of what goes into the organistaion's work.

Tariq Al Hosani from Zero Gravity. Courtesy Image Nation
Tariq Al Hosani from Zero Gravity. Courtesy Image Nation

On Tuesday, you may hear punches and kicks emanating from the twofour54 offices in Abu Dhabi. But don't call the police. It's all part of Bopcorn & Sawaalef, Image Nation's new film club. Alex Ritman dons special padding and investigates

The background

Wondering exactly what Bopcorn & Sawaalef is? "It's for the film community here at large," explains Mohammed Al Otaiba, the head of Image Nation Abu Dhabi (which is owned by Abu Dhabi Media Company, owner of The National). He's the moderator of the group and a filmmaker himself. "It's a place where we can talk about films. It's for everybody who wants to sit down and share other people's stories."


Bopcorn & Sawaalef is a free monthly event usually held towards the end of each month. This week's meeting is the group's third so far. Each session has different guest speakers and screenings. "We could get a producer based in the UAE to talk about what it entails to be a good producer, whether these qualities are inherent or acquired with experience," says Al Otaiba. "We'd watch a short film from a filmmaker based in the UAE and we'd dissect it and discuss the challenges that person faced in making the film."

Previous sessions

In the last meeting, a discussion arose about making feature-length films on zero budget, with two filmmakers, Abdulla Al Kaabi (whose film, The Philosopher, screened at the 2010 Dubai International Film Festival and was one of the most expensive shorts made that year) and Khalid Al Abdulla, who has made several low-budget shorts (one, Ice Cream, screened at the most recent Gulf Film Festival), sharing their experiences. "I realised we had two very different kinds of filmmakers," says Al Otaiba. "Hopefully we're going to catch up with them both in six months or a year and see where they got to."

Future plans

The Bopcorn & Sawaalef meet-ups will hopefully cover the various aspects of filmmaking - from financing to set design and make-up - as they move forward and grow. "We're also hoping to do something on animation," says Al Otaiba. "It's all about less of the talk and more of the showcasing. Don't talk, just show."

Who can come

It's open to anybody interested in filmmaking. "Anybody living in the UAE who wants to get to know other people in the film world, wants to network, wants to make their own low-budget film. This is the place to get to meet others."

What's with the fighting?

This week's session sounds particularly interesting. Tariq Al Hosani of the local "fight specialists" Zero Gravity will screen his choreographed fights and provide a behind-the-scenes look into how they film their show. "He's going to talk about where to place the camera, how to direct action sequences, it's very real and very interactive," says Al Otaiba. "We're all very excited."

How to get involved

This week's session is from 6-8pm at twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. But it changes each time, so it's worth checking the Bopcorn & Sawaalef Facebook group and Twitter feed.

Anything else to know?

There's free popcorn.