Forget the Oscar movies, one low-budget Emirati film is causing quite a stir at the box office — without the fuss, without the high-profile backers or promotional gimmicks. In fact, the film’s had such an impressive run in Abu Dhabi, showing for a month now, that one distributor has decided to release it across the UAE this weekend.
Called Grandmother’s Farm (Mazraet Yaddo), the comedy/horror film is a simple story about five Emirati friends who decide to spend a weekend at their friend’s farmhouse. There, they come face to face with a mysterious unwelcome guest who’s determined to turn their peaceful evening into total chaos.
Director Ahmad Zain, who calls it an “out and out commercial film”, says he can’t he happier with the reception the film has received and with distributor Gulf Film, who has decided to release it at all Grand Cinema outlets in the UAE.
“It’s a sign that people like watching these kind of movies with an Emirati perspective that is fun and does not take itself too seriously,” he says.
Made on a Dh300,000 budget, the director says the film’s month-long run in Abu Dhabi has already helped him cover all the costs that went into making it. The self-funded film, made along with production company Dhabi Gulf Film (not related to Gulf Film), premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff) last year.
“There’s also something special about it: It’s a 100 per cent Emirati movie,” says Zain, who shot the 72-minute film in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi for six months last year. “From the writer to the producer, the cast, crew and editors, every one is Emirati. We didn’t have any professional actors either, so that’s quite something.”
Zain, an Abu Dhabi-based mechanical engineer by day, has been making shorts for more than 13 years and has travelled to various film festivals around the world. Grandmother’s Farm is his first full-length feature.
Filmmakers in the UAE are often too focused on making festival films, he says. “Sometimes it’s the simple stories that people connect with most. It’s the films that you can go with your friends to, enjoy, laugh and have a good time.”
And that’s exactly what he’s hoping cinemagoers will do when the film gets a wider release on Thursday.
“You will have a good time,” he says. “Just go with your friends and forget all your problems.”
Grandmother’s Farm releases across the UAE on March 6 at all Grand Cinema outlets.