Five Emirati students arrived to Paris this week to embark on an intensive course at one of the world’s most prestigious filmmaking schools.
The students, who come from all over the UAE, will join the specially-tailored Gulf Summer University Program at La Fémis School. All five went through a rigorous recruitment process conducted by Image Nation in association with the French Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the French multinational oil and gas company Total.
As part of the program, the aspiring filmmakers will take part in an intensive five-week curriculum of creative workshops that are designed to give students a complete understanding of the roles and tasks that are part of filmmaking today.
The students: Bader Khalfan Mohammed Al Kebt, from Abu Dhabi; Ayham Hasan Qayed Saeed AlSubaihi, from Sharjah; Shahad Alshehhi, from Abu Dhabi; Shaqra Mohamed Ali Sultan Al Hameli, from Abu Dhabi; and Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Suwaidan, from Dubai have varying levels of filmmaking experience , but share the same passion to learn more about every element – from storytelling to final production.
“I have been lucky enough to study film in both the US and Australia, so to be given the opportunity to practice in the birthplace of cinema is really exciting,” said Ayham Al Subaihi, one of the chosen five.
“Working at the executive council, I’m already gaining great experience as a media specialist, but to get some hands-on practice at the acclaimed La Fémis school will allow me to develop my skills further, so that I will be able to do an even better job.” Added fellow student, Shaqra Al Hameli.
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, said of the students: “These incredibly talented young filmmakers have an exciting journey ahead of them. Understanding the process of how films get made is just as important as the making itself, and this program is a great opportunity for these students to learn and practice the crafts of the industry. The filmmaking industry is one where teamwork is essential, so attending the program as part of a ready-made crew will allow them to understand the importance of working together to achieve a great end result – which ultimately reflects on them all.”
Mohamed Bendjebbour, Regional Audiovisual Attaché of the French Embassy added: “We are proud to be sending up and coming Emirati filmmaking talent to France for the Gulf Summer University Program. This is the first time that La Fémis has created a program dedicated specifically for the Gulf, so we are excited to see the outcome in five weeks’ time. This is both an educational and cultural experience for the students, so I encourage them to embrace Paris as much as possible – get to know the city, check out the outdoor cinema and learn as much as they can.”
Fatma AlKhumiri, Communications and CSR Manager, Total EP, United Arab Emirates said “Nurturing young Emirati filmmaking talent is integral to the development of the industry here in the UAE and we are thrilled to be part of that, along with Image Nation and the French Embassy.”
Located in the historic Pathé Studios in the center of Paris, La Fémis is ranked as one of the top ten film schools by Hollywood Reporter. The students lucky enough to be selected for the program will be taught filmmaking theory and practical skills by top tutors in the industry. Trainees will also have the opportunity to discover contemporary French cinema through the study of important French directors.