twofour54 creative lab talent recognised at this year’s Gulf Film Festival

15 Apr 2012

Five films developed by creative lab community members were screened at Gulf Film Festival with further projects accepted into festivals in fourteen countries across the globe

twofour54 creative lab saw its talented community of young film makers showcasing five films at the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai this past week to enthusiastic cinema-goers.  To date, projects by members of the dynamic creative lab online community have received a total of thirty-two international and regional film festival acceptances in fourteen countries, showing the depth and strength of talent being developed in Abu Dhabi.

Since the launch of twofour54 creative lab in 2010, the community has supported, funded and mentored local and regional talent across various media disciplines to facilitate the creation of diverse projects. The web based community has helped people understand how to turn a creative idea into a project, connecting like-minded individuals from amateur musicians to experienced directors from across the UAE and the region.  The success of the films in particular is testament to the talent and creativity alive in the UAE, reinforcing the importance of investing in and empowering creative individuals in order to drive the growth of a dynamic and successful media and entertainment industry.

A number of short films have achieved success, with 5 Pounds winning the first prize at the 15th short film festival in Grasse (France) and a special mention of the jury at the 20th Mediterranean Festival in Larissa (Greece) in March and April this year.  Soul was recognised as the best narrative short film and the best Emirati short film during last year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and Beep won the Jury Special Mention Award at the Arab Film Festival of Oran (Algeria) in 2011.

The five creative lab short films screened at the Gulf Film Festival were created by young UAE nationals and Arabs from across the region, supported through mentoring, funding and access to production and post-production facilities, as part of twofour54’s continuing commitment to helping create locally relevant Arabic content and  already gaining attention among viewers in the UAE.

These films draw on topics that are related to the personal experiences and insights of the community members, including:

The Pillars; directed by Mustafa Zakaria which is about a divorced couples’ journey shaped by the five pillars of Islam.

Ostoura; written by Fasial Al Sharyani is a unique Emirati project based on a poem paying tribute to the creation of the UAE through a 3D film produced by Blink Studios – one of the region’s leading animation studios based at twofour54.

Smaller than the Sky; written by Mohammed Hassan Ahmed is a tragic Emirati film about a family dealing with loss.

Beep; by Haytham Saqr is a dark comedy about everyday life under the impact of technology.

Waiting; by Hana Alshateri is a 3D project meant to appeal to people in all areas of the world.

Faisal Al Sharyani, Ostoura Script Writer and creative lab community member, said:

“The inspiration for Ostoura came from the heritage and creation of the UAE and our forefather, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan through a poem that inspired the script, paying tribute to the UAE’s history and rulers. Working with creative lab and Blink Studios allowed me to take my concept and turn it into a 3D film, by giving me the guidance and support to develop the script, produce the movie and access film festivals that I would never have known about. The film making process from start to finish can be complicated but working with the twofour54 creative lab community has helped me break into the industry and understand how I can build an exciting career.”

Mustafa Zakaria, The Pillars filmmaker, added:

“My film looks at the region and the issues that impact our lives here in the UAE. I drew on the creative lab community at every level for support, from development through to casting. I would not have been able to put this story into motion and make The Pillars without the effort and zeal of those involved.  In addition to support, creative lab also allowed me to connect to their community network which was fundamental in enabling me to bring The Pillars to fruition.”

twofour54 creative lab has attracted over 3,100 community members including 725 UAE Nationals. Since its inception in 2010, creative lab has completed 31 projects and has helped 300 of its members take their first steps in the industry by gaining work experience on its projects, 200 of which are UAE Nationals working across multiple media disciplines including film, animation, music and gaming.

For more information on twofour54 creative lab and to view behind the scenes footage, visit:


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