x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 September 2017

Kanye West to return to Middle East to shoot film: report

The rapper reportedly has had teams scouting Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha over the past week.

Kanye West performs at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin. His most recent trip to the UAE is believed to be in December, when he performed at a private party in Dubai with Jay-Z.
Kanye West performs at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin. His most recent trip to the UAE is believed to be in December, when he performed at a private party in Dubai with Jay-Z.

Kanye West is reportedly set to the return to the Middle East this March to shoot a film project. According to sources quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, the rapper has had teams scouting Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha over the past week.

"They did a full round of meetings, speaking with various government agencies, institutions and private investors. They toured each area and met with all the major players," the source said, adding that there was a "pretty intense bidding war" currently in progress.

The film is said to be around 30 minutes long, between a music video and short film, which sounds similar to the arthouse film Runaway starring Selita Ebanks that was launched in the build up to West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album in 2010.

The story of the film was apparently conceived by West to be set explicitly in the region, and is designed to showcase its natural beauty while remaining culturally sensitive and embracing customs and traditions. To keep the authentic feel, he will reportedly be moving a creative team to the region "for a few weeks", claims the source, and plans to use "as much local talent and crew as possible".

Stories suggest West's love for the region grew after he played at the Abu Dhabi F1 on Yas Island in 2010. His most recent trip is believed to be in December last year when he played a private party in Dubai with Jay-Z.

There has been no confirmation from West, but one member of his team revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he had been in the Middle East "last week".

aritman@thenational.ae