‘Made in the UAE’ to champion local cinema

The Scene and Roxy Cinemas have joined forces to champion local and independent cinema in the UAE.

Every month, they will screen an independent film at Roxy Cinemas, located at Box Park and City Walk. These screenings will be available through complimentary subscription, and seats will be issued on a first come, first served basis. The inaugural film will be Paterson, at Box Park on May 23 and City Walk on May 24.

Actor Barry Henley will be in attendance.

“Roxy Cinemas are lovers of film first, before being exhibitors,” said Nayla Al Khaja, filmmaker and founder of The Scene, a members-only initiative launched ten years ago; it screens independent films monthly for its paying members.

“When I first spoke to [Roxy], they said, ‘We’re already members of your club,’ so it was an easy task.”

The collaboration will also result in Made in the UAE, a film production series that will offer insights into locally based filmmakers and talents every month. The subjects of Made in the UAE will include Emirati nationals and expats.

Actor-director Mohammad Ahmad will be the first person highlighted, followed by Zinzana director Majid Al Ansari, and then the head of censorship in the UAE, which Al Khaja says is a “very sticky subject” that must be discussed.

The episodes will be livestreamed on both Roxy Cinemas and The Scene’s social media channels, and will take the viewer through “tips, tricks, hacks” and other technical aspects of the craft. The series will target industry professionals, in an effort to share knowledge and build community.

“I don’t think we have a film industry. We have a film movement,” said Al Khaja. “We need to be consistent. We need to be persistent. Nothing moves home-grown cinema forward like the filmmakers themselves.”

The Scene will also fund a new Emirati production called Weight, a silent feature film.