Nayla Al Khaja’s The Shadow previews in Dubai

Dubai Film and TV Commission supports female Emirati film director’s first horror production

The Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC)-supported horror film The Shadow, directed by Nayla Al Khaja, Emirati female filmmaker and producer, hosted its first preview on November 3, 2019 at VOX Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates.

The horror film, produced by Dark Dunes Productions, EPIC Films, Al Khaja Real Estate and Señorita Films, features locally based actors and uses the Emirati dialect.

The film follows the story of a sick nine-year-old in the grip of uncontrolled phenomena – and the desperate measures his mother takes behind closed doors to save his life. The Shadow also marks a first for Al Khaja in the horror genre and is inspired by actual events that she experienced.

Beyond lending a backdrop to local and international blockbusters, Dubai’s film industry is steadily expanding, with many local and international players choosing the city for its production and post-production facilities.

Established industry-specific business communities are already home to global companies, TV stations, broadcasters, production houses and professionals. As a result of the continuous efforts by DFTC, Dubai today boasts some of the fastest licensing permits in the world, adding to the attraction of filming in the emirate. DFTC also continues to focus on attracting and developing talent, nurturing a sustainable industry and fostering the latest innovations impacting the creative economy.

Jamal Al Sharif, CEO of DFTC, said: “We are proud to be associated with The Shadow and to have supported Nayla and her very able team. Nayla has set benchmarks for future filmmakers in the emirate with her commitment to elevating the region’s film credentials on the global stage.”

“Our priority is to ensure a seamless filming and production experience, and our support includes fast-tracking processes to obtain all necessary filming permits, among other priorities,” Al Sharif added. “At DFTC, we remain committed to helping Emirati filmmakers achieve their goals by empowering talent. Movies from our homeland cement Dubai’s role not just as a city with state-of-art infrastructure and production facilities but also as a talent powerhouse. We welcome and encourage initiatives and platforms that foster innovation and creativity.”

Al Khaja said: “I hope movies such as this one will inspire more Emiratis and especially women to use films as a medium for expression. The team and I are incredibly excited to be telling this story, a story that’s entirely Emirati. We are extremely thankful for all the support we have received along the way. I am also proud to have had the first 50% female cast and crew on set to balance the otherwise well-known male-driven industry.”

In line with its commitment to providing a creative environment, DFTC recently announced the launch of On.Dxb, a regional festival designed to support growth and talent development in the media, entertainment and content development industries. The Shadow will release in 2020 at all MENA cinemas.

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