Lights, camera, action – and jobs

There are a wealth of good, high-skilled and high-paying jobs in the film industry in the UAE beyond the glamorous ones of acting and directing.

Behind the glamour of the red carpet and movie premières lie a tremendous amount of time and effort. Many people – from script writers to directors, camera operators and assistants, animators and producers – all work together to produce the films we watch and enjoy.

In the UAE, the film industry continues to grow rapidly. Abu Dhabi’s many advantages have allowed Image Nation and twofour54 to attract several Hollywood productions to the region, with Fast and Furious 7 and the latest Star Wars film already being shot in the emirate. It is not just Hollywood either. The Corniche is closed today for what is thought to be filming of Bang Bang, a Bollywood movie.

At the same time, Dubai’s new Stargate technology is placing the UAE at the forefront of the content production industry. The Stargate soundstage at Dubai Studio City is using the latest green-screen technology to produce high-quality CGI for films quickly and for a reasonable cost.

Overseas, Stargate’s cutting-edge technology is applied to everything from cameras to visual effects to editing and other tools to deliver content for several top TV shows. MBC’s Dubai studio is working on a 120-episode telenovela Matrimonio, breaking the regional output standards by filming a 40-minute episode every day.

This presents a great opportunity for Emiratis to get involved in a thriving business, whether in front of the camera or behind the scenes, where most of the jobs are to be found. Filmmaking experts have been urging Emiratis to take up these back room careers rather than focusing only on acting or directing. Allan Nicholls, the art director of the New York Film Academy in Abu Dhabi, told students that unlike previous generations who viewed films as “taboo”, there are new generations of Emiratis who recognise the significance of film in telling stories and preserving the culture.

They have a responsibility to portray these narratives to the world.Young Emiratis have to look beyond the appeal of acting and directing and explore careers in all stages of production. As part of the country’s overall aim to be a knowledge-based economy, they should be encouraged to specialise in the cutting-edge technologies in the film industry.

Published: May 8, 2014 04:00 AM