x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Logon, upload, action for UAE film

Director and editor Hassan Kiyany has set up a Vimeo group where flimmakers can post their videos.

The Emirati film-maker Hassan Kiyany has used an iPhone to make a short film in Dubai.
The Emirati film-maker Hassan Kiyany has used an iPhone to make a short film in Dubai.

DUBAI // An Emirati film-maker has set up an online platform to give people in the industry a chance to show their work.

The director and editor Hassan Kiyany has launched a service where film-makers can post their videos and a channel where enthusiasts can view them - both called UAE Film - on the video-sharing website Vimeo.

UAE Film is open to residents of all nationalities, although Mr Kiyany is particularly keen to promote Emirati artists.

"I wanted to create an online platform where all UAE film-makers could keep their work in one place, on one channel, and where it could be seen by everyone," he said.

"It could be a documentary, a music video, a promo, a trailer, a commercial corporate film. It could be anything. It just has to have a scenario, cinematography, something in it. I didn't want the YouTube kind of video.

"I studied a couple of ways to do it, whether through a website or through the social networks. After talking to different film-makers I chose Vimeo, which is a professional platform for uploading your videos where they can be seen by professionals and people can comment on them.

"So we created a group and I started inviting all UAE nationals with work on Vimeo to add their videos to this group, and they all joined straight away."

Some of the videos he hopes to feature were made years ago, in 2003 or 2004, and although they were screened at festivals at the time, they were not seen by many people and have not been shown since.

"Festivals last just a couple of days and after that no one can see the films," said Mr Kiyany, whose short film telePhoni was screened in April at the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai.

"So this is another reason to convince film-makers that instead of just archiving their work, they should let people see it.

"Not every film can go to a festival. Sometimes watching them online is the right level and the audience on the web is much larger than at festivals. Just 100 or 200 people can see your film at a festival, but on the web 1,000, 2,000 from everywhere in the world can see it."

The Vimeo group has attracted 27 members in the two weeks since it went live. The platform is the first in a series of initiatives Mr Kiyany is planning to promote Emirati film-makers.

The next step is to integrate it with a UAE Film Facebook page so every video added to Vimeo would also be posted there.

In the longer term, Mr Kiyany hopes to launch a monthly video competition, provide opportunities for training and start a film club.

"We would have a directory of members - all types of film-maker, actors, editors, sound engineers, everyone. So when film-makers come from outside the UAE they will be able to find whoever they need."

Shivani Pandya, the managing director of the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff), welcomed the initiative.

"Festivals are a great launch pad for local film-makers but it is important that these films are shown throughout the year," Ms Pandya said.

"Both Diff and the Gulf Film Festival have been making efforts to ensure commercial releases for films from the UAE and across the Arab world.

"It is great to hear that others share this vision and have launched a platform for local talent. We encourage and welcome more initiatives like this."

Mr Kiyany, 29, from Dubai, studied film-making and directing at the New York Film Academy. He is the manager of special projects in the corporate communications department at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

He shot telePhoni with the camera on his iPhone and hopes to show it at an iPhone film festival scheduled to take place in the US in October. Mr Kiyany plans to start work on a new film project later in the year.

csimpson@thenational.ae