Emirati filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja shoots 'The Shadow'

Production of ‘The Shadow’ supported by Dubai Film and TV Commission

‘The Shadow’, a horror film directed by Nayla Al Khaja, the Emirati female filmmaker and producer, and produced by Epic Films and Senorita Films, will begin principal photography with the support of the Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC).

The film is a teaser version of an extended feature set to be filmed in the upcoming months. Starring locally based actors and using Emirati dialect, the story follows a sick nine-year-old in the grip of an uncontrolled phenomena and the desperate measures his mother takes to save his life. The makers say the film is based on actual events that Al Khaja experienced herself.

“We are proud to contribute to this project and support talented local directors such as Nayla. DFTC is committed to offering services that help Emirati filmmakers achieve their goals and propel them onto the international stage, in line with the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021 that aims at cementing Dubai’s position as a hub for creative and empowered people,” a DFTC spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson continued: “Over the last few years, Dubai has emerged as one of the top choices for international filmmakers due its unique geographical location and state-of-the-art infrastructure. Several Bollywood and Hollywood films, including ‘Zero’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘Happy New Year’, ‘Kong Fu Yoga’ and ‘Vanguard’, have been filmed in the emirate.

“We are pleased to see the film industry booming here, especially with local filmmakers producing more projects. In 2018, we issued a total of 980 filming permits, which demonstrates Dubai’s potential to become a global film production hub. In line with our continued efforts to streamline the filming process, we introduced a one working day turnaround time for issuing permits to keep up with the requirements of this fast-paced industry.”

Director Al Khaja hopes to inspire more female filmmakers with her efforts.

“Worldwide, only five per cent of women directors specialise in this genre. I’m genuinely hoping to inspire more women in the region to follow my lead and venture into filming difficult topics based on more hard-hitting narratives. The UAE lacks female feature film directors of a certain calibre, and it’s about time we see a change in this category.”

Robbie McAree, Executive Producer and Founding Partner of Epic Films, added that he hoped ‘The Shadow’ would help create employment opportunities for local screen workers.

The shoot will take place across several locations in Dubai this June, with the film launching in September 2019.

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