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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Emirati director joins London fire fundraising drive

Amal Al Agroobi raises money for Grenfell victims

UAE filmmaker Amal Al Agroobi is based in London. Ravindranath K / The National
UAE filmmaker Amal Al Agroobi is based in London. Ravindranath K / The National

Emirati filmmaker Amal Al Agroobi has teamed up with a host of authors, artists and fellow filmmakers to raise funds for victims of the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.

The Brain that Sings director leant her support to the Authors for Grenfell Tower appeal, which saw a host of stars from the creative industries put their time, products or possessions under the hammer to raise money for the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund.

“Basically this charity auction was held by a group of authors and directors – David Walliams, Philip Pullman, Edgar Wright etc. Just offering their time, knowledge, opportunities or signed copies of their books or films and so on to the general public," says Al Agroobi, who is currently based in London. "People would just bid on the items and the highest bidder would have to make sure that their donation went to the British Red Cross. Then it was up to the winner and the corresponding party to negotiate a time or place to deliver the items.”

https://twitter.com/gailaldwin/status/880169796721094656

Al Agroobi’s contribution to the fund-raising efforts was the offer of “Script feedback and film industry advice over coffee with filmmaker Amal Al-Agroobi", though a coffee free option over Skype was offered for non-London residents too.

Gail Aldwin from Dorchester, Dorset won the chance to sit down with the Emirati filmmaker and claimed she was "thrilled to have won the bid".

Al Agroobi raised the equivalent of Dh333, and although that may not quite match up to the likes of comedian David Walliams, whose offer of afternoon tea at Claridges raised over £12,580 (Dh60,000), or author Philip Pullman’s impressive £32,300 (Dh154,000) for naming rights to a character in the second novel in his Book of Dust series, Al Agroobi says she is pleased to simply have done her bit.

“I really went into it blindly so I didn't know how much I would raise but something is better than nothing in cases like this,” she says.

“I think David Walliams raised over £10,000, others only 25 or 50 so I wasn't aiming for a number of really I just thought I'd put it out there and see how I can help.”