Emirati talent in focus with prison film Zinzana

Filmmaker Majid Al Ansari’s Zinzana has just finished filming in Jordan and the movie will go into post-production at Optix in Dubai.

Zinzana is set in a Jordanian prison cell. Courtesy Image Nation
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The latest movie from Image Nation is the Emirati filmmaker Majid Al Ansari's Zinzana (Confinement) – a movie set largely in a Jordanian prison cell.

“It’s a thriller,” says Al Ansari. “Our hero is stuck in prison and he can’t leave. He has no identification card, so he finds himself in a situation with this madman who starts playing games with him, and he has to play along.”

The film is produced by Image Nation (a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, which also owns The National), and the cast includes Palestinian actors Saleh Bakri (Salvo) and Ali Suliman (Paradise Now), the Emiratis Ali Al Jabri and Mansoor Al Feeli, and Saudi actress Ahd (Wadjda). The filmmaker Rami Yasin (Sea Shadow) is the producer.

Image Nation's credits include local film such as Djinn, Sea Shadow and From A to B, which opened the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Al Ansari served his apprenticeship on all those films, working his way up from production assistant to his newfound directorial role. His first sci-fi short film, The Intruder!, won a Golden Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival in 2012 and screened at festivals worldwide.

“From an early age I was always passionate about films and dreamed about directing my own movies,” says Al Ansari. “I had no doubt that Image Nation would help pave the way for my career, but I am overwhelmed with the support I have received from the company and my colleagues.”

The crew have just finished filming in Jordan and the movie will go into post-production at Optix in Dubai. A release date is yet to be announced.

Yasin, who worked with Al Ansari on Sea Shadow, is full of praise for the director. "He's a gifted storyteller with a unique mindset and a wonderful collaborative spirit."

Al Ansari says: “Emirati cinema is open to everything. We go and watch every kind of movie. Let’s not talk about Emirati cinema – lets talk about Arab cinema. I want my film to be appreciated throughout the Arab world.”