Talented local director and twofour54’s creative lab preserve and invigorate Emirati culture


02 Jun 2014

Abdallah Hassan diversifies his work with Emirati cultural project

A talented local director and producer, supported by twofour54 creative lab, is aiming to reinvigorate the ancient art of telling stories through music and introduce a new generation of viewers to traditional and modern Emirati theatre for the first time.

“It’s my dream to breathe life into this traditional and beautiful art form,” said Abdallah Hassan, co-founder of Faradees Art Productions, the Emirati company seeking a broadcast partner for Cinema Stage, a new series that brings Emirati culture to television. “This new series can reinterpret and breathe new life into a river of stories at the heart of the vibrant local culture.”

Abdallah is an acclaimed local director who has won illustrious awards including “Best Film” at the Gulf Film Festival, “Best Director” at the Arab Film Festival and the Dubai Film Festival for “Smaller than the Sky”, and was named “Best Young Arab Director” by Digital Studio magazine in 2006. His films have featured at major film festivals all over the world. His most famous works include Al Thafar, Al Muraihana, Al Fustan, SumoAl Fia’al, Ameen, Asafeer Al Qaith, Sama’a Sagheera, Tinback, and Asghar min Al Samaa delivered for a range of regional broadcasters.

Abdallah said: “twofour54 creative lab has been crucial in getting the project to this stage of development by providing us with funds, local talent, and creative support for pilot episode production. We are looking for broadcaster support to share this story and the talent behind it to turn it into a great success.”

Projects supported by creative lab include television pilots, short films, webisodes, music, print publications, magazines and games. The lab is the first creative ideas incubator focused on the media and entertainment sector in the Arab World, helping creative ideas to become commercially viable projects and providing young Arabs with practical experience.

Each of the twelve episodes of Cinema Stage open with a story about a young boy named Khalid. It then cuts to a 35-minute play and finishes with the boy’s reaction. The first play, Jameela, appearing in the Cinema Stage pilot, is about the life of a beautiful girl whose father will only permit her to marry a man who can achieve the seemingly impossible task of pulling a huge ark by rope from the middle of the sea.

Khalid Khouri – Head of creative lab commercial said: “We hope that Cinema Stage will emerge as yet another success that can be added to Abdallah and Ahmad’s impressive record of achievements. Their previous productions such as likeSmaller than the Sky and Emirati High Flyers were remarkably popular, motivating and inspiring young creative Arabs to become members of our creative community.”

Abdallah is a perfect example of twofour54’s talent development initiative journey, he started as independent film maker with creative projects that required support. Winning international acclaim at various film festivals for “Smaller than the Sky”. Then being commissioned by Etihad Airways to develop a documentary “Etihad High Flyers” and to develop five other content story pieces for the airlines corporate use. Now setting up his own Emirati production company Faradees Art Productions with twofour54 Abu Dhabi.

Faradees Art Productions, aims to work with local crew, such as singers, actors, musicians, costume designers, set designers, and technical experts – many of whom are members of creative lab’s community – to create new productions that push the boundaries of cinema and art. They are considered founding members of the film industry in the UAE and have created over 30 films that have won 40 awards. In 2013, the company moved its studios to the twofour54 campus at the heart of the local media and entertainment industry to collaborate with the networks and broadcasters based there.

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