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Afnan Al Qasimi Image Credit: Supplied

Eight aspiring filmmakers have been picked to be a part of Arab Film Studio’s brand new scriptwriting programme, with one winner to receive Dh100,000 to producer a feature length film.

The programme, organised by media and entertainment company Image Nation Abu Dhabi and the Dubai International Film Festival’s (Diff) Dubai Film Market, was set up to help aspiring filmmakers jump-start their professional careers. All eight participants will attend a two-day coaching session during Diff 2016 after which four scripts will be shortlisted and selected to participate in the Dubai Film Market where the writers will pitch their projects to a panel of industry professionals. “Learning, training and working are very important in the world of cinema and one must continuously seek opportunities to improve their craft. I hope Arab Film Studio will finally be the chance for me to learn how to write the kind of scripts that I have always wanted to write, how to correctly manage my thoughts, and help me to gain confidence in my abilities,” said Afnan Alqasimi, a 23 year-old student, who won a Best Script Award from the New York Film Academy, in a statement.

The course, which starts this month and will cover a five-month long learning programme, will include a three-week intensive workshop focusing on all aspects of scriptwriting — from story concept to character development. This will be followed by a three-month assignment, where participants will be asked to conceive a short film screenplay using the skills learnt on the course.

“AFS Scriptwriting is designed to fine-tune the existing writing skills of filmmakers. The key to any great film is the story and often this can be the hardest part of the production process. We are looking forward to connecting emerging talent with our training experts to create some fantastic stories,” said Alicia Gonzalez, head of training and development at Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

Shivani Pandya, Diff’s managing director, said she’s looking forward to hearing some exceptional stories.

“Supporting the regional film industry at all levels — from budding scriptwriters to experienced producers — is such an important part of Diff and so we are very excited to join forces with Image Nation to foster talent within the UAE. Participants will get the chance to take advantage and utilise a global industry platform at the Dubai Film Market this December,” said Pandya.