EXPERTS OFFER ADVICE TO UAE FILMMAKERS
TAMAKKAN HOLDS SESSION ON FILM MAKING IN THE UAE
Experts offer advice to UAE film makers
Abu Dhabi—The production of a film is dependent on the film maker’s ability to effectively raise funds and monetise their creation, regardless of the artistic merits of their creation. In the context of a small, but rapidly growing market, this is particularly challenging for potential producers, writers and directors in the UAE.
Several of the leading lights within the UAE film industry came together at a recent Tamakkan Seminar to offer advice to filmmakers on challenges of production and fundraising within the UAE.
Michelle Nickleson, Founder of Women in Film and Television, UAE, spoke at length of the difficulties of raising the large sums of money required to produce blockbuster films and alluded to the creation of her own company, MenaCine Finance, an investment group that seeks to provide “opportunities for high-worth individuals and corporations to invest in media.”
Vida Rizq introduced an alternative method of raising funds for media production: crowd-funding. Her own company, Aflamnah.com, is a platform for crowd-funding within the Middle-East that enables individuals and companies to invest in projects in return for rewards. The aim, she says, is to ‘encourage people to make, not just consume’, and it is apparent that she has been successful: her claim that “even professional film makers are taking part” is backed up by the fact that two films shown at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Festival were partially funded by Aflamnah.com. Hana Makki and Amal Al Agroobi showed a trailer for their documentary, ‘The Brain that Sings’ that is being funded through the website and related their experience of fundraising in the UAE.
Fiona Robertson, a media lawyer at The Rights Lawyers gave an introduction to the basics of copyright law, particularly regarding joint ownership of projects and the various steps needed to bring a creation to profitability from a legal standpoint. “There are some sharks in the industry,” Robertson said, “And that’s why you need a lawyer!”
The presenters were joined by Wayne Borg, Deputy CEO and COO of twofour54, and Mohammed Al Otaiba, Head of Imagenation, Abu Dhabi, for a panel discussion on topics raised by the audience. Borg emphasised the role of twofour54 in promoting participation in the creation of films and their aim to “give young people the confidence to follow their hearts and to pursue their passions.” Al Otaiba took a more business-minded approach to the conversation, stating that “the challenge [for film makers in the UAE] is to target other markets and platforms” in order to increase profitability.