Hollywood actor Jude Law will be one of the judges at the second Arab Film Studio, Image Nation’s short film competition.
Arab Film Studio was established in partnership with Image Nation and twofour54 in 2011.
The judging panel, comprising 19 acclaimed professionals including Law, Emirati film director Nawaf Al-Janahi, Kuwaiti film maker Sheikha Al-Zain Al Sabah, producer Walter Parkes, Oscar nominated The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel and Ashok Amritraj of Hyde Park Entertainment, will judge six shortlisted submissions for seven awards. The creator of the best film will walk away with a Dh50,000 prize.
“We wanted a jury with a great deal of experience in the film industry. So it’s a professional jury,” Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation told tabloid! “Secondly, we wanted to have a diverse group including local and international judges which is important for two reasons. We didn’t want it to be just a provincial perspective on the judging, we wanted to bring in an international standard and perspective to the whole process.
"At the same time, it was a very good way for us to inform the people in the industry around the world about the talent here in Abu Dhabi and the UAE because a lot of people, like Jude Law or David Frankel, would never see these kind of films unless we’d asked them to. So it’s not only to bring something to Abu Dhabi, the UAE and GCC but it also brings the GCC, UAE and Abu Dhabi to the world. That’s very important.
“Also, what do we have here? We have an incredible number of very talented young people who are passionate about their industry. What do we lack? They lack experience because this is a young industry. So part of our job is to give them the opportunity to gain experience. Also, what they lack is mentorship and so Image Nation tries to connect aspiring film makers with people who have long experience and who are willing to give them the benefit of that experience”.
However the jury is not physically present in the UAE. Garin explained that “one of the great things about the modern world is they can see these from where ever they are and vote online”. Neither would Law or Frankel or the other jury members be present for the award ceremony at Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhabi on July 1.
“They are just the jury. To get somebody like David Frankel and Jude Law to be involved is already a big deal. We don’t wish to impose on their generosity more than necessary,” said Garin.
The finalists of this competition are from a wide mix of countries – the UAE, Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Syria and USA. There were 13 participants, six up from last year, which comprised entries by Emiratis only.
However, this year participation has been expanded to include entries from UAE residents and the GCC nationals, informed Garin. Out of the six finalists Allegra Hamilton (Longing) is an American and Muneer Al Busaidi (A Heated Interview) is an Omani and the Algerian Mohammad Islem Cherchali (Smoke) are all residents of the UAE.
“The reason is very simple,” said Garin. “The UAE is a small country in terms of population size and if we want to build a sustainable motion picture and television industry, it cannot be based on the local residents here but need to build on the regional perspective as well. The level of quality has only improved with the passing year and it gives us a great deal of confidence that this industry has in the future and we believe that in time the UAE can really become a creative hub for Arabic film makers and content creators”.
Abdullah Al-Eyaf (writer and producer)
Ashok Amritraj (Hyde Park Entertainment)
Bassam Al-Thawadi (producer)
Brunson Green (producer)
Caleb Franklin (agent, CAA)
Charles King (agent, WME)
David Frankel (director, The Devil Wears Prada)
David Heyman (producer, Harry Potter)
Erik Andreasen (Participant Media)
Eva Orner (producer, Taxi to the Dark Side)
Fareed Ramadan (writer)
Jude Law (actor)
Laurie MacDonald (producer)
Mahmour Kaabour (filmmaker)
Michael Brandt (writer)
Nawaf Al-Janahi (director, Sea Shadow)
Scandar Copti (NYU Abu Dhabi)
Sheikha Al-Zain Al Sabah (producer, Amreeka)
Walter Parkes (producer)