Nayla Al Khaja, the award winning UAE filmmaker, and Wayne Borg, twofour54 COO, discuss plans to build a sustainable Arabic media industry in the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Media company twofour54 has joined forces with Dubai's Emirati filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja for her upcoming film titled Mallal (Bored), it was announced recently.

"My production company, D-Seven Motion Pictures, approached twofour54 for partial funding of the film. I had met their COO Wayne Borg before and was very excited about what the company plans to establish in Abu Dhabi," Al Khaja said.

The film's script, which won first place in the script competition for Emirati Short Films at the 2010 Gulf Film Festival, follows a newlywed Emirati couple during their honeymoon.

The inspiration behind it is not as romantic as one would think.

"I wrote the film's screenplay when I was in Sharjah," Al Khaja said.

"It was on a day when it was raining heavily and I couldn't leave the house... I was so bored.

"We will begin shooting in August. I chose India because the story is about the couple's honeymoon, so I wanted somewhere that was lush, plus, I speak the language fluently."

Mallal will be the first UAE film shot outside the country. Twofour54 has agreed to pay for three young Emirati filmmakers to accompany Al Khaja and her team.

Life of Pi

The group would include a production manager from the Life of Pi, which will be released in 2012, she said.

"We chose three trainees because I want to help support budding Emirati filmmakers," Al Khaja said.

"We interviewed many people but in the end chose three women, from the ages of 20 to 23 who are fresh graduates.

Film festivals

"I didn't set out to choose only women. It would have been nice to have a male who could lug the equipment around, but that was what happened."

The film will be screened at festivals around the world and the region.

"I can't wait to start screening the film in all the major film festivals, especially the Berlin Film Festival, because it has a really cool programme for young filmmakers," Al Khaja said.