Film and the Emirates: When will the Arabs take the chance?
Why do we need to set our films in United Arab Emirates? Such a simple question but with a vague answer. No matter how much we try to understand and analyze it, maybe we will have a hard time figuring out why there is a need to go in a place where almost everything is prohibited but in the end, this question will not be raised unless we don’t understand what the situation is in United Arab Emirates and how good their film industry goes. Seeking how good the industry in the Emirates is not as hard as it seems but the way they see film does not seem to be in a good way.
Perhaps they have been concerned with their personal feelings and not with what will attract the foreign people in their land. Although the government was only trying to protect their country from controversies and unjust exposure, they were not making things easier for the producers and film makers who wanted to portray reality. Apparently, there were no such good movies in the Arabs. Not that they produce ugly films but because they limit themselves from the great possibilities and stories which will make a big hit in their film industry.
They don’t see the possibility of having big hit movies but they also seem to mislead people from reality. Since the government does not allow political plots nor do they want controversial stories, they choose the foreign films that they want the people to see carefully and once they weren’t satisfied in a single shot because of either a controversial topic or maybe because the makers showed the country in a poor way. They tend to give a scrutinizingly critic every foreign film, aligning everything with their goal of giving a good impression to the people. Attempts to have a better film industry
Despite of the current situation of film in the Emirates, there were few attempts that shows how good films were in the Emirates. They seldom consider film as a way of making their industry better but at this point, the Emirates is ready to finally open their doors if we will consider their moves as of the moment. In June 2008, a digital film archive of the Emirates history was seen by the people. Although much of these films were documentaries about the history of the Emirates, this step showed that they were indeed ready for a revamp and change in their film industry.
In present, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage was asked to develop a film commission with an order to promote Abu Dhabi as a film location. These attempts to open the doors for foreign films were great steps to have a better film industry and to promote the country as well but if people mislead their real intention, they might blew everything away and end up with nothing but just Emirates, their people and their film industry. Foreign Films Shot in the Emirates: Censorship and Defense
In the last four years, Emirates allowed at least two foreign films to be shot in Abu Dhabi. After the shoot, the Emirates government carefully analyzed Syriana and The Kingdom to the extent that several scenes were deleted from the original film. This kind of censorship that the authority made spoiled the whole story but as their defense, they just don’t want to Abu Dhabi to be depicted poorly since they were actually working on tourism as of the moment. The question we have right now, is Emirates ready for opening its doors to the world film industry? Maybe not, maybe yes.
The two films shot in Abu Dhabi in the last four years showed that there was indeed a strong will to start opening their doors for the foreign film industry. Closing the doors once more? Perhaps there was no reason for us to worry more about the film industry of the United Arab Emirates because they were surely having good movies with them because of the hard work of the people who wanted development and changes but in this case, what we were trying to work out is the realization that they need to open their doors more to let the foreign people see what is good inside their country.
Despite of their attempts to do this, their beliefs still goes in the way. Promoting their land as a location for foreign films do not need strict censorship most of the time. In present, they were trying to attract foreign film makers not trying to place negative impression on them. If they want foreign film industry in their land, perhaps they are in need of considering reality and not mischiefs. In what they were trying to do, United Arab Emirates was really close in closing their doors from the people. Films weren’t made to deceive people. It was a way to make people see what is reality.