Young filmmakers get taste of the action through Image Nation training programme
ABU DHABI // Ask Emirati teenager Husain Al Hashmi how much he loves films and he will reply with a question of his own: “How big is the sky?”
Since he was a young boy, Husain has been attracted to the arts. The thought of applying his visual and literary storytelling skills through filmmaking was never far off.
“It’s just a great world,” he said of his passion. “It takes you to places. It’s knowledge, it’s fun, it’s entertainment, it’s a message. It’s everything.”
A programme launched by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and New York University Abu Dhabi this month is giving aspiring young Emirati filmmakers a hands-on introduction to the profession.
The Arab Film Studio Young Filmmakers programme immerses local youths in a three-week course led by industry professionals and NYUAD faculty.
“They will learn everything about making a film,” said Carlos Guedes, a music composer and associate arts professor of media at NYUAD.
“By the end, each one of them will have gone through the stages, the possible different roles in filmmaking – directing, shooting, producing, making the sound, recording, doing the sound design for the film.”
Now at the end of the second week of the programme, Husain’s resolve to pursue a career in film has only strengthened.
“It is greater than I could even imagine,” he said.
“I had an amazing image of filmmaking, but really going through the field and learning the true filmmaking, knowing really what filmmaking is, it’s greater even than I expected.”
The programme is one of four training and education initiatives offered to aspiring filmmakers in the region by Image Nation, the Abu Dhabi-based media and entertainment company owned by Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi.
“One of our main objectives at Image Nation is to build a sustainable Emirati film industry with longevity, so investing in future generations is critical to this,” said Alicia Gonzalez, head of training and development at Image Nation.
“We have already seen past AFS students screen their films and win awards at some of the top film festivals around the world.
“This is not just great for the student but incredible for Emirati cinema, to be shown on the world stage.
“Our Arab Film Studio programmes offer some of the best training in the region and it is something we are very proud of.”
By the end of the programme, each participant will have written an original script, cast actors, directed scenes, recorded sound and, ultimately, produced a short film of up to three minutes.
Some students choose to tell stories that address issues related to health or social ills. Husain’s story is about a young man who aspires to be an artist, contrary to his family’s desire for him to study finance.
“All parents they have a certain image and expectation for you to go into a certain major,” he said.
“But everyone should do the thing that he loves. There is always a solution, there is always a double major.”