The Future Of UAEs Film Industry

Nov 13,2017

I have always had that deep curiosity to discover ‘what comes next’ and there is no greater approach to love your craft than to invest time in building bridges for future generations. After all, film is immortal and we are not!

Both government and private initiatives are driving the UAE cinema & film industry movement but perhaps the best indicator of the future are youngsters, since they are the ones that will build our tomorrow. I met with film students of SAE Dubai to share my experiences as a filmmaker and understand their view-point towards the world of UAE films.

Here are my stories!

The Inspiration

Nostalgia awakened the right spot within these students as they shared childhood memories of their interaction with cinema. For the majority of them, this is when their love for the medium began. “I used to watch the ‘making of movies’ for hours. I loved to see how the magic happened,” said Joy de Barnier.

This love intertwined with awareness and realization towards the power of the medium, has left a thumbprint on them not only as students but also as humans. 22 year old Lynn Kakhia says “I believe if you portray the ideas and concepts you have in mind - you can make a change.”


The Dream

There is strong positivity amongst these film students as we talk about dreams. A defined passion resonates in the air as a world of new talent awaits our local industry. It is a reminder that cultivating growth is important to society.

“My goal with film is to win an academy award for best director.” says 24 year old Daniel Freeman. In our industry it is said that the absence of vision can be demotivating. However, it seems that students are still as confident as ever and willing to chase those big dreams.


Local Film Industry

Optimism speaks loudly as these students share bright views for the local film industry. 21 year old, Indian student, Anton Charles is certain he wants to stay, “Definitely! I want to start my own production house in Dubai and take it from there” This point of view and confidence in the local film movement was reinstated by others “Dubai has a huge opportunity because we are so advanced compared to the rest of the Arab World.” said Canadian-Lebanese student Lynn Kakhia.


The Future

The love for this region doesn’t end there as these students expressed big visions for the future of our local industry. “In 25 years Dubai will have a raging film industry with studios branching out here’ said American student Daniel Freeman. This idea may seem farfetched to some but at the current rate of progress it is not outside the realm of possibilities. Large multi-national brands have already setup shop to cater to the MENA region and film education will certainly play a large part in developing homegrown talent.

The rise of SMEs in this sector has provided steady growth in terms of intern opportunities for young graduates and the future remains bright.  As the new generation of the UAEs film industry gear up to enter the field it is important that current industry veterans foster this growth and help them become part of the flourishing environment that is to come.


About the Writer

Gauri Chadha is an award-winning filmmaker and CEO of Chasing Frames Productions. Educated in Film and Theatre from the University of Miami and the prestigious Met Film School in London. Her portfolio now includes large productions like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and clients such as Google and Philips. For further info visit