Being the first UAE National woman to embark on such a career, Nayla Al Khaja received media attention and accolades from as far away as the Washington Post NHK and BBC World.

Nayla graduated from Dubai Women’s College with a degree in Mass Communication in 1999 and had a stint with Arabian Radio Network where she hosted her own travel show. She later applied to Ryerson University in Canada, well known for its Film making program and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Image studies – Film. She later founded her production company ‘D-SEVEN motion pictures’ that same year, a full service production company specializing in the production of short films, documentaries, TV Commercials and corporate videos. The company quickly grew and worked with industry giants such as Mercedes, BMW, Vogue, Nike, Nivea, Gucci, Canon and LG, Discovery Studios to name a few.

In 2006, Nayla made her first short film “Arabana”- which dealt with the subject of child abuse. The film premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2007 where she was awarded the title for ‘Best Emirati filmmaker’


She wrote and directed three more short films “Once” (2009), “Malal” (2010) and “The Neighbour” (2013). The latter two earned her the ‘Muhr Emirati award’ at the Dubai International Film Festival (2010) and ‘Best Emirati film’ at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (2014) respectively.

In 2007, Nayla’s passion for film saw her launch Dubai’s first film club aptly called “The Scene Club” which grew from a mere 50 members in its first year to over 10,700 registered members. The Scene Club’s popularity has grown with such enthusiasm that new branches are scheduled to open soon in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.


  • Winner of Best short film for “The Neighbour” Middle East Now Festival Florence, Italy 2015
  • 100 most powerful Arabs under 40 - Arabian Business Power List 2015
  • Winner – Muhr Emirati Special Jury Award – “The Neighbour” - Dubai International Film Festival 2015
  • Recognized as 500 Most Powerful Arab People 2012
  • Recognized as Top 50 Most Powerful Arab Women 2012
  • Visionary of the Year - Arabian Business Awards 2011
  • Production of the Year “Malal” - Digital Studio Award 2011
  • 1st Prize – Muhr Emirati category “Malal” -Dubai International Film Festival 2010
  • Best Script Award – Gulf International Film Festival 2010
  • 1st Prize - International Young Screen Entrepreneur - British Council, UK 2010
  • 1st Prize - International Young Screen Entrepreneur - British Council, UAE 2010
  • 1st Prize - Emirati Short Film Script Competition - Gulf Film Festival, UAE 2010
  • UAE Woman of the Year - Film/Photo Category - L’Officiel Magazine 2009
  • Best Female Filmmaker - Dubai International Film Festival 2007
  • Young Woman Entrepreneur of the Year - 6th Middle East Businesswomen and Leaders Achievement Awards 2007
  • Inspirational Leadership Award - Lloyds TSB Bank 2006
  • Alumni of the Year - Dubai Women’s College 2006
  • Emirates Woman of the Year - Emirates Woman Magazine 2005
  • Local Artist of the Year - Emirates Woman Magazine 2005
  • The Youngest Entrepreneur – Global Businesswomen and Leaders Summit Awards 2005
  • Alumni Entrepreneur Award - Dubai Women’s College 1998


  • Top Female Entrepreneur in The Middle East - August, 2013.
  • Doha Film Institute (DFI) First Cycle of Hazawi Fund for Nayal's short film ‘Three’ - April 2013.
  • Chosen by Abu Dhabi Media hub to represent them on a CNN commercial.
  • Presenting ‘A Sleeping Giant called Film’ at BOLD Talks 2011.
  • Chosen by Doha Film Institute to do a portrait with Brigette Lacombe for Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010.
  • Joins Abu Dhabi Film Commission in Melbourne International Film Festival 37 South Market 2010.
  • Endorser for Emirates NBD Bank.
  • Representative of the United Arab Emirates at the US Department of State International Visitors Leadership Program 2010 in the Filmmaker Category.
  • A jury member at the Middle East International Film Festival 2009.
  • Appointed as the cultural guide and co-host on Paris Hilton’s My BFF.
  • Dubai Women’s College Alumnae Entrepreneur Award 1992-1998
  • Official judge of Red Bull: The Art of Can 2008.
  • Named “Emirates Woman of the Year, 2005” by Emirates Woman magazine.
  • The only national to be featured in Ahlan’s Hot 100 for three consecutive years.
  • Won a Kodak grant to produce the “The Loss” which was released in Canada (2004).
  • Won the Action Cut Award in New Jersey, USA (2003)


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.



  • Guest speaker at CIPS MENA Conference & Awards in Abu Dhabi – 11th May 2015
  • Guest speaker at Eversheds International Women’s Day – 8th March 2015
  • Guest speaker at Creative Mornings Dubai – 22nd January 2015
  • Opened the Dubai International Film Festival 2014 – 10th Dec 2014
  • Mentor for Samsung’s ‘My Dubai’ workshop – Dec 2014
  • Guest speaker at St. Gallen 43rd Symposium – Between a multi-million-dollar industry stands a language - 3rd May 2013
  • Headline Presenter and Panelist, UN Commission on the Status of Women 57 – Panel, Women's Human Rights Activism against Violence through Arts & Film – 4th March 2013
  • Guest Speaker, Young Women Leaders Summit, Our Own English High School – 8th December 2012
  • Speaker at the UAE National Day Event , Jumeirah Hotels – 4th December 2012
  • Speaker at the Dunyana Program (World Energy Forum) – 22nd October 2012
  • Guest of Honour, My film My story Contest for Young Emirati Film Makers – 20th September 2012
  • Executive Speaker at the Hult International Business School, Dubai – 19th June 2012
  • Guest Speaker at 3rd Annual WIL (Women in Leadership) – 23rd November 2011
  • Speaker at Arabian Business Women’s Forum – 22nd November 2011
  • Chief Guest Speaker, Alumni meet of Govt. Engg. College – 18th November 2011
  • Speaker at GeekFest – 22nd September 2011
  • Speaking Engagement about Cinema in UAE for the students of Dubai Modern High School –15th September 2011
  • Speaker at GeekFest 2011, Abu Dhabi, UAE – 3rd March 2011
  • Speaker at Dubai Media City’s The Thought Incubator: A sleeping giant called FILM, Dubai, UAE – 28th February 2011
  • Speaker at BoldTalks 2011, Dubai, UAE – 12th February 2011
  • Speaker at S.T Dupont Liberte Launch, Dubai, UAE – 3rd November 2010
  • Speaker at Turner Classic Movies (TCM) 10th Anniversary Event, Dubai, UAE – 4th October 2010
  • Speaker for Heels and Deals Re: Female Emirati Entrepreneurs, Dubai, UAE – 27th September 2010
  • Ribbon Cutting at Holiday Inn Dubai- Barsha for Al Aarab Restaurant, Dubai, UAE – 16th June 2010
  • Guest of Honor Arab Woman Cinema Day at UAE University – 24th May 2010
  • Speaking engagement for International Women’s Day Al Mirzah American Academy for Girls – 17th March 2010
  • Speaking Engagement for American University in Dubai, Dubai, UAE – 9th March 2010
  • Speaker at Women’s Leadership and Technology Conference in Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE - 27th February 2010
  • Speaker at Abu Dhabi Women’s College, Abu Dhabi, UAE – 23rd February 2010
  • Speaker at Emirates Women Award 2009, Dubai, UAE – 17th November 2009
  • Keynote Speaker for the Education and Career Forum at Najah, Abu Dhabi, UAE – 21st October 2009
  • The Circle Conference 2009, Abu Dhabi, UAE : 9th - 11th October 2009
  • Speaker at Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain – 7th May 2009
  • Speaker at Breakfast meeting with American Women’s Association of Dubai, Dubai, UAE – 14th April 2009
  • WOIBEX Global Women Leaders Summit 2009, Dubai, UAE - 8th March 2009
  • Laila Emaratya: A Night of Emirati Short Films, Dubai, UAE – 26th November 2008
  • Speaking Engagement for Rotary Club, Dubai, UAE – 24th November 2008
  • GEL Conference 2008, New York City, USA: 24th - 25th April 2008
  • Insight Dubai Conference, Dubai - March 2008

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