British Council Celebrates UAE Talent by Announcing Young Screen Entrepreneur
Nayla Al Khaja Represents UAE in Tour of UK Film and Screen Institutions and Meets Industry Leaders.
August 17, 2010 1:41 by Rasha Reslan
Dubai, Unites Arab Emirates, 17 August 2010: In a competition showcasing entrepreneurship and ingenuity in the UAE, Filmmaker/Producer Nayla Al Khaja has been announced as the winner of UAE International Young Screen Entrepreneur (IYSE) Award 2010, as part of the British Council’s international award programme, Young Creative Entrepreneur (YCE).
The local competition to chose the UAE representative was conducted at the British Council’s Dubai premises and the interview panel consisted of the following eminent members: Shivani Pandya, Managing Director Of Dubai International Film Festival; Salwa Mikdadi, Head of Arts and Culture at Emirates Foundation; Greg Unrau, Head of Production and Training at Abu Dhabi Film Commission; and Ali Jamal, Founder of Emirates Pictures.
Multiple awards winner, Nayal Al Khaja is founder and CEO of D-Seven Motion Pictures, a Dubai based production company, which produces commercial material, independent documentaries, and films. She is the first woman film producer in the UAE
Nayla Al Khaja will join 11 other international finalists from Argentina, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Vietnam for a trip to the UK in mid-October 2010 to compete for the international title. As with previous years, the 2010 programme will be developed with UK partners, and will take the finalists to London, and other cities, to meet leaders of the UK screen sector.
The tour will comprise visits, meetings, seminars and trade events including attending the prestigious London Film Festival. It will also include a master class with an internationally renowned UK screen sector entrepreneur during which the finalists will be able to question him/her about the development of his/her highly successful screen sector business.
Shivani Pandya commented: “The finalists were extremely competent and it was a tough selection process. Nayla is a true entrepreneur and will do well in every endeavour. She is a good ambassador for women and the UAE and we wish her all the best for the international competition in the UK.”
Greg Unrau, commented: “The Young Screen Entrepreneur Award is an important step in not only recognizing people who are dedicated to building up the local industry, but also providing them with international exposure and important connections in screen production. Nayla demonstrated her commitment to establishing a viable and growing local production company that also provides annual internship placements for students graduating in media. The Scene club provides a public discussion and exposure to films and their directors, helping develop a positive film culture in Dubai. She has fresh ideas, isn’t afraid to take a chance or accept a challenge and appears to have the drive to see things through to the end.
Ali Jamal said “I’m honoured to have been one of the jury members for this wonderful award which aims at developing the film industry in the country and contributes to spreading cinematographic culture, networking and international exposure through the works of a capable national and local cadre. The jury members were equally aware of the importance of this award and the committee made its evaluation based on mutual understanding, cooperation and opinion sharing. The decision was taken after meeting finalists, who were all very competent, and analysing their answers to the questions we had posed. The jury agree that Nayla Al Khaja has excelled through her clear activity both in the UAE and internationally and through her active practice in the different means of filmmaking. She truly deserves to be in the first place. However this doesn’t underestimate the other finalists to whom I wish all success and continuity in this great field which we should always support.
Michel Bechara, Assistant Director Projects at British Council said “The Screen sector has remarkably progressed in the UAE. Dubai International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, The Circle Conference, Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Abu Dhabi Media Company, Imagenation, Dubai Media Corporation and Dubai Studio City, are amongst many venues and initiatives that are reshaping the scene and placing the UAE on the map of the international Screen industry. Individuals, many of whom were British Council’s IYSE Award finalists, have been equally confidently driving their businesses forward, to demonstrate their abilities to compete at an international level. We are delighted to having worked with our expert partners in the field to select the very competent UAE winner – Nayla, and are absolutely positive that we have secured a strong representation from the UAE for the final competition in the UK, to reflect the reality of this promising scene that is really worth supporting and exposing to the World.
The UAE has a rich record in various International Young Creative Entrepreneur (IYCE) awards, with competent participation of successful entrepreneurs from Design (Rami Farook – UAE and International winner of IYDE 2009), Fashion (Rabia Z. – UAE winner of the IYFE in 2007), the Visual Arts (Khalil AbdulWahid – UAE winner of the IYVAE in 2008) and the Publishing (Suhaila Al-Awadhi – UAE winner of the IYPE in 2009) industries.