x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Tasteful film earns its maker capital trip

In Igrab, Saghran sets out to find someone who can teach a friend visiting from Italy how to brew the perfect cup of qawah, the UAE's national coffee.

These Emirati guides, (back left) Ahmad Saleh Alshehhi, Abdullh Alkhomer, Sultan Alshehhi, (front left) Mohammed Boshowairb, Mohammed Alshehhi and Jassm Alkhomere champion UAE culture.
These Emirati guides, (back left) Ahmad Saleh Alshehhi, Abdullh Alkhomer, Sultan Alshehhi, (front left) Mohammed Boshowairb, Mohammed Alshehhi and Jassm Alkhomere champion UAE culture.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // The film that promised to take you "from mug to cup" will now take its filmmaker to the capital.

Hamad Saghran's drama documentary on the Emirati tour group, Igrab, won the New York Film Academy - Abu Dhabi Award at last week's Gulf Film Festival.

Much more than a flashy prize, the award offers a four-week educational scholarship at the Abu Dhabi academy.

The reward could change the life of the RAK filmmaker, who had considered going overseas to study film after finishing his IT diploma at the RAK Men's College in June. "Really, it comes from God," said Saghran. "I will not stop after this course ends, I will study more."

It was the first documentary for Saghran, who participated in the student competition for the past four years. Saghran has loved film since the age of 17 and won the Special Jury prize in the student category at the 2008 Gulf Film Festival for his movieSea Heights.

In Igrab, Saghran sets out to find someone who can teach a friend visiting from Italy how to brew the perfect cup of qawah, the UAE's national coffee.

Dismayed by foreign-run tour companies, Saghran eventually finds a group of volunteer Emirati guides and at last recognises his own culture in their tours. "The soul and inspiration for this group is very good," said Saghran. "RAK as a city, as an environment, is a good place for starting filmmaking because the majority of locals are here, so we have a lot of stories. As Emiratis we can go to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for arts organisations and festivals."

Saghran may still go overseas to study film but the award has reassured him that he is on the right track. He will start shooting his next project in October, a romantic drama planned in collaboration with twofour54, an Abu Dhabi production company.

azacharias@thenational.ae