UK film festival to open with Emirati shorts

A series of British films is being shown in Dubai, hosted by the British Council. Each of the classic movies will be preceded by an Emirati short.

Made in Dagenham left to Right: Miranda Richardson as Barbara Castle and Sally Hawkins as Rita. Photo by Susie Allnutt, 
Credit: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Powered by automated translation

DUBAI // Emirati producers of short films will have a chance to reach a wider audience beginning this week with the launch of the British Council’s new UK Film Season.

Tomorrow night launches the series of eight films from the UK, which will be screened over the next two months.

Each feature will be screened five times a day,  preceded by a home-grown short, a move that local talent has applauded.

Ali al Jabri,who heads up the Emirates Film Competition in Abu Dhabi and who has been making films for more than a decade, will have his 10-minute film Solo screened at the preview showing tomorrow, and to the public on Thursday. Each film will be screened every evening for five nights.

Mr al Jabri said it was a great opportunity to find a new audience.

“Not only will people come to watch our films, but we will also have the chance to learn from their reactions, which will help us to improve,” he said. “Also, there may be film critics there, which will only help to push our industry forward.”

Mr al Jabri’s film is about a musician who was unable to pursue his craft due to censorship. It stars Nawaf al Janahi, who is one of the UAE’s most prolific filmmakers.

“I think the topic of my film is universal and everyone can understand it,” Mr al Jabri said. “But even with the traditional films, I believe people like to see what happens in other cultures and to know things about Emiratis.”

The British film following Solo will be Nowhere Boy, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood. The chronicle of John Lennon's childhood, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, was nominated for four BAFTA awards in 2009. It will screen from Thursday to Tuesday, January 25.

The film season will continue next week with Never Let Me Go, an English boarding school drama starring Keira Knightley that made its UAE premiere at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in October last year. This will be preceded by Amal's Cloud, directed by Rawia Abdullah.

In February, fans of dance movies will be able to watch StreetDance, the story of a dance crew that worked with ballet dancers from the Royal Dance School in London. It will be shown after Heat the Beat 2,  about hip-hop artists in the UAE. The film is produced by Nayla Al Khaja, who recently made the first Emirati feature film in India.

West is West, the sequel to the popular 1999 movie about a Pakistani family living in northern England, will be screened in March. It will be preceded by The Half Heart by Bilal Abdullah, about a young girl shunned by her society after becoming pregnant.

* All screenings will take place at The Picturehouse, Reel Cinemas, The Dubai Mall