x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Camel film in 3D for all the family

Desert Superstars premieres tonight.

A 3D film is delving deep into the UAE's desert culture and its ties to the Arabian camel.

Desert Superstars - produced under the patronage of Sheikh Diab bin Saif Al Nahyan and following his journey as a top camel breeder at Al Dhafra Camel Festival - will premiere tonight at 6.30pm at the Cine Royal Khalidiya Mall, Abu Dhabi.

The 35-minute documentary was developed in coordination with the Canadian film production group 3D Camera Company and is directed by the Dubai-based Pierre Abou Chakra.

"In the GCC, there are certain elements that are present from birth in one's life - such as camels and the Bedouin life," Abou Chakra said. "The film's main stars are Sheikh Diab's three favourite camels. This has been his hobby since childhood, so it's through his point of view that the story is told."

For centuries, camels have held an important status in the Gulf's heritage. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the majestic animals' "beauty and value".

The camera captures the most important moments of the annual festival, which draws large tourist crowds and features more than 20,000 camels.

Camel owners come from all over the Arabian Peninsula and beyond to compete in various competitions - such as breeding methods, beauty and racing - that can fetch up to Dh35,000 in prizes. Two categories of camels usually compete in the festival: Asayel (purebred) and Majahim (dark-skinned).

Also highlighted in the film are the Heritage Village and traditional market (souq) that takes place during the festival, and the Million Street, which annually hosts thousands of camel owners.

The producers and filmmakers hope the project will move more people outside the region into wanting to experience the festival first-hand.

"I want this 3D movie to show the world what the Dhafra Festival is," said Sheikh Diab in an earlier interview.

The film began production in December 2010 and took just six days to shoot and complete. Filming in the desert climate proved a challenge for the team that had to constantly clean sand and dust from equipment.

"After watching the movie, viewers will understand what it takes to compete in such a festival," said Abou Chakra. "The film will have a great affect on the audience, especially because it is 3D.

"What it represents and the experience, is a story in itself."

Desert Superstars screens tonight at Khalidiya Mall in Abu Dhabi and will continue until November 30