x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

‘There is a good movement for short films, yet not feature films’

The Emirati filmmaker Nujoom Al Ghanem talks about the workshop she's been hosting at twofour54 to teach the skills needed for a successful movie pitch.

As well as being a hugely respected poet, Nujoom Al Ghanem is one of the UAE’s most prominent filmmakers. This week, the Emirati has been hosting a workshop at the twofour54 media free zone in Abu Dhabi to impart her knowledge to those who wish to follow in her footsteps.

The three-day course aimed to teach the 15 attendees how to prepare a pitch, making a creative idea feasible then sellable. She has produced four shorts and four feature-length films in her time.

These include the 2010 documentary Hamama, about an elderly female healer, and Amal, which chronicles the tribulations of a Syrian expat in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking before the final lesson on Saturday, Al Ghanem said so far the course had been an enlightening experience, for her and her pupils. “The participants have been very engaging, very enthusiastic. They liked the subject and they are working hard on presenting their proposals.”

Al Ghanem said the most difficult thing was aiming her lessons at people with different levels of knowledge. “Some of the people do filmmaking as a hobby. But even if they studied film at university, they tend to forget what they’ve learnt, so it’s good to keep reminding them.”

Nujoom feels that the film industry needs further encouragement. “There is a good establishment for the TV industry and there is a good movement for short films, yet not feature films,” she claims.

She is currently working on a documentary, Red, Blue, Yellow, about the Emirati painter Najat Makki.

hberger@thenational.ae