Deal puts UAE film industry on global stage

The Abu Dhabi-based film production house has announced a deal with Fortissimo Films.

ABU DHABI // The head of a film production company says the industry in the UAE finally has the chance to make strides in the global market.

Michael Garin, the chief executive of Imagenation, gave his prognosis after announcing a multi-film deal with the international distribution company, Fortissimo Films.

The deal means the Abu Dhabi company's next two features, Sea Shadow and Djinn, will be showcased on an international platform. Imagenation is the film production arm of Abu Dhabi Media, publisher of The National.

The results would be palpable, said Mr Garin, who took on his role at the company this year.

"Sea Shadow, for example, which is one of the first Emirati feature films to be produced, will get much stronger worldwide audiences and attention because of our association with Fortissimo. It's the same with Djinn," he said.

"Going forward, it will help our young Emirati filmmakers better understand the market."

Sea Shadow, a coming-of-age drama from the Emirati director Nawaf Al Janahi, is due for release this year, with Djinn, a horror film shot in Ras Al Khaimah and directed by the Hollywood veteran Tobe Hooper, due for release in 2012.

Alongside the company's recent partnership with Empire International to distribute Imagenation's films across the Middle East and North Africa, this was the final piece of the puzzle, Mr Garin said.

"We are really, now, perfectly positioned to do the job that we have set out to do, to help build the foundations of the motion picture industry in Abu Dhabi and the UAE," he said.

Each film will be marketed differently, he added. "These films need to be targeted to very special audiences, so you need to treat each one individually."

Both features were aiming for recognition, said Michael Werner, the chairman of Fortissimo Films. "The short-term goals are to make sure these first two films ... achieve all that they can achieve from a critical perspective and also from a commercial perspective," he said.

Published: August 26, 2011 04:00 AM