An Emirati film titled Fan of Amoory, which tells the story of a young boy dreaming of being a professional footballer and representing his country, releases in the UAE next month, and features work from the first professional female Emirati colourist, Noora Al Mansoori.
“We wanted it to be vivid and full of life,” said Al Mansoori of her vision for the movie, speaking at a conference on Monday afternoon.
“Education and understanding of colouring has grown here. There’s a desire for professional quality productions, and I’m proud of that.”
Aside from acing the visuals, director Amer Salmeen Al Murray said it was a challenge to film primarily with child actors on a busy set.
“The biggest obstacle was filming these moving sequences, sometimes with 30 people in one shot — plus, you’re working with children,” he explained. One scene, which featured three children exiting a grocery store, took them 35 takes to shoot, from 9am to 6pm.
“The toughest thing in cinema is working with children and the elderly,” he said.
The crew also struggled to find decent weather to shoot in; though they aimed to film in December and January to take advantage of cooler temperatures, it was “hot as summer”, said Murray. 93 per cent of the film was shot outdoors; only two scenes were filmed inside.
“My idea was about sports, about children, about playing fields. It was about the dream of a child and whether or not he can achieve that dream,” said Al Murray.
In addition to the leading children, the film, supported by Abu Dhabi production company twofour54, features performances by established actors, such as Mansoor Al Feeli.
“He entered the global arena of acting. He was the first Arabic actor to have a character role in a Bollywood film, Dishoom,” said Al Murray.
The filmmaker, who produced his brother’s film Going to Heaven in 2015, said the UAE’s film industry is expanding at a steady pace.
“I don’t want to say we’re growing at rocket speed. But even if we’re growing at a snail’s pace, that’s fine, because we’re continuing to emerge,” he said.