x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The Owner is about to smash a film record

A new movie is the work of 25 directors on five continents, including one from Dubai.

Dubai, 24th September 2010. Fahad Shaikh one of the 25 film directors across the globe with actors and crew prepares for the film shoot for the movie The Lost Backpack, held at DEC Towers. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)
Dubai, 24th September 2010. Fahad Shaikh one of the 25 film directors across the globe with actors and crew prepares for the film shoot for the movie The Lost Backpack, held at DEC Towers. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)

When it premieres across the world and in Dubai on Friday night, The Owner is set to break a world record for the most directors working on a single film.

Created by 25 directors from more than 10 countries on five continents, the film follows an old backpack that is passed between the characters on its journey around the world.

Along the way, details are revealed about a mysterious man named Mr MacGuffin, who may own the bag. Each filmmaker wrote, shot and directed their respective segments, in countries including Germany, Hong Kong, Colombia, India, England, South Africa and the UAE.

Fahad Shaikh - a car salesman by day and filmmaker by night - wrote and shot the Dubai leg of the film.

"Films are my passion and they've always been something that I wanted to do," he says. "I have to keep my passion alive and so I have to keep doing this stuff on the side as much as I can."

The directors have been working on the film, organised by the US-based international co-production film group CollabFeature, since 2010. Although Shaikh shot his segment in one 13-hour day, collaborating with people around the world proved time-consuming. The scriptwriting alone took six to seven months.

"None of us knew each other or had met each other … and everybody has a full-time job, plus everything was done online," he says. "So it was not easy to collaborate online when you don't know each other and you have a full-time job on the side."

The directors used an online portal to communicate about each of their parts and the project's progress.

Shaikh will be working on more projects in the future, focusing on documentaries, arts and independent films.

There will be a free screening of The Owner on Friday, starting at 7.25pm, at The Pavilion, Downtown Burj Khalifa