Nayla Al Khaja is an award-winning Emirati film director and screenwriter, and the first female film producer in the United Arab Emirates. CEO of Nayla Al Khaja Films (previously D-Seven Motion Pictures), she founded in 2007 The Scene, Dubai’s first film club, which now counts over 22,000 registered members. Nayla wrote and directed several films, all presented and awarded in international film festivals.
In 2006, she was awarded the title of Best Emirati Filmmaker during the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) for her first short fiction, Arabana, about child abuse. Followed three more short films: Once (2009), Malal (2010) and The Neighbor (2013). Malal received the Muhr Emirati Award at DIFF 2010 and The Neighbor was awarded Best Emirati Film at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival. In 2016, she shot the pilot of her first feature film, Animal, nominated for the Muhr Emirati Awards at DIFF 2016. The short film received the Jury’s Special Prize for Best Short Fiction at the Italian Movie Award in Pompeii, Italy, in September 2017.
Nayla’s accolades include being ranked amongst the Top 50 most powerful personalities in Arab Cinema, and 100 most powerful Arabs under 40 by Arabian Business Magazine. She’s also been awarded the Visionary of the Year Award at the Arabian Business Awards, and she is Brand Ambassador for Canon Middle East since 2011. She was recently declared Entrepreneur of the Year during the Gulf Business Awards 2017.
Over the years, Nayla Al Khaja’s dedication to develop the UAE’s film industry and her advocacy for Women in Cinema, helped her reputation of trustworthy professional grow. Today, she keeps supporting and mentoring local talents, and is considered a reference in the Middle East.
"The secret of change is to focus all your energy into building the new."
Canon Middle East announced Nayla Al Khaja, UAE's first female film producer, as it's brand ambassador in 2011.
Nayla's production company D-SEVEN Motion Pictures partnered with Canon Middle East to support and inspire budding filmmakers. Titled 'BLOOM! Cine Startups', it was to encourage especially the youth, to make their first film using Canon DSLR cameras.
In 2008, Olay appointed Nayla as their brand ambassador representing Arabian women in the Middle East.
In 2012, Gucci endorsed Nayla to attend the Venice International Film Festival as part of 'Women in Cinema'.
Nayla was also invited to be part of the 'Celebrity Club' for TAG heuer, to endorse the brand in 2014.