|Media students Hileri Bilakhia and Joshua John at the 4th Gulf Film Festival, Dubai.|
The 4th edition of the Gulf Film Festival, Dubai (14 to 20 April 2011) is conducting a series of free student workshops to encourage cinematic talent in the region. The workshops are being held on the sidelines of the festival, from April 14th to the 20th, at the Dubai Festival City.
On Sunday, April 17th 2011, selected students from UAE universities were taken to visit the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) to tour the sets of the first UAE horror film DJINN, to meet the cast and crew and experience the action of a live set. Two students from the Department of Media & Communications, Manipal University Dubai – Hileri Bilakhia & Joshua John – were part of the entourage.
The students were escorted to the sets of DJINN by Delphine Garde – Mroueh, Head of Programme Administration at Dubai Entertainment & Media Organization, which is located at Studio City in IMPZ. The group was welcomed onto the sets by the Producer and Vice President of Development of Imagenation Abu Dhabi, Daniella Tully.
The students were then guided into the studios by Moustafa Zakaria, development representative of Imagenation Abu Dhabi, and introduced to the ‘setiquettes’ – etiquettes of the set! From the building of sets, to the lights and sounds, from camera angles to the shooting procedures, the students were given an insight into all the action of a film making process. Separate visits to the special effects department, the costumes department, prop room and a walk through the actual set was also included in the tour.
|Hileri Bilakhia with other participants at the sets of DJINN. Photo by Joshua John|
Djinn was first announced during the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and is produced by Daniela Tully and Tim Smythe, with Filmworks, Jaye Gazeley and Robert Crippen co-producing. Emmy nominated Joel Ransom (Steven Spielberg’s “Taken”, “Band of Brothers”, “The X-Files”) is the director of photography.
The group of youngsters also got a chance to interact with various crew members who were more than happy to answer any queries related to filmmaking and the movie DJINN. Speaking of the Director, Tobe Hooper (of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist fame), “He is a very humble person to work with. It’s a completely different experience to have him on the sets. Hooper is simply wonderful when it comes to horror films and we are extremely glad to have him on board”, said Mohammed Al Otaiba, the cultural consultant. As a cultural consultant, Otaiba makes sure the movie is in line with the cultural sensitivities of UAE and that the look and feel of the movie is as authentically Emirati as possible.
The movie DJINN is the first Emirati horror feature film, written by David Tully and produced by Imagenation, Abu Dhabi. Majority of the star cast for this film was selected through applications on a local web portal. It has been in production for over a month, with nearly 20 days of shooting already done and about 10 more to go. Initial shots of the film were shot on location at Al Hamria – a fishing village in Ras Al Khaimah – where the movie is set. With another 2-3 months of post of productions, it should be ready to be showcased at various film festivals by December 2011. It was a great learning experience for the students.
Report by Hileri Bilakhia