Coinciding with the Release of Her Latest Critically Acclaimed The Double in the GCC Theatres
Amina Dasmal: It Is High Time We Create Gulf Movies Capable of Carving Their Own Spot in the Box Office
In an exclusive cover story with Ara magazine, the leading Pan-Arab luxury and lifestyle publication, Emirati Producer Amina Dasmal talked about her career in the film production world and the future she foresees for the film financing and production industries regionally and globally.
The article highlights Dasmal's belief that a successful producer must be familiar with the technicalities of the film production industry. "From the first time a producer holds a script to read, a well-read and a knowledgeable producer can easily pinpoint its importance and determine the scope of success it can reach. They will also be able to choose a suitable director for the film and to adopt the best ways to market it," added Amina.
The Emirati Producer admitted that she thinks about movies from an administrative perspective, starting from the logistics, going past the marketing methods and finally reaching the goal of racking up revenues enough to cover the production costs and to gain profits that pave the way to a sustainable career. Dasmal revealed that she has several stories by various talents that she would like to present in films as a producer. Meanwhile, she thinks her own stories still need more time, effort and an expansive experience to present them in films as a director. "My movies are important to me, and I don't regret having made any of my previous works. But, I also don't fall for the same negative experience twice; my first movie was not a box office hit but I was able to cover its cost," Dasmal said about her previous film projects.
Speaking of film production on both local and the regional levels, Dasmal emphasized the fact that the idea of production both locally and regionally is still unclear and is surrounded by uncertainties. It needs more experience, expertise and motivation to achieve a tangible progress in the film industry in Gulf countries and the other Arabic countries. "Even though I am an Emirati national, my films are financed by foreign investors and governments, such as my experiences with the Mexican and Puerto Rican governments and film funds in Britain. Governments need to develop strategies and set trends to be able to reach a formula suitable for movie funding therein," Dasmal continued while referring to the British production Slumdog Millionaire which was successfully shot in India but which received funding from the British government.
The Emirati Producer mentioned that, since 2006, she has been concerned with putting forward initiatives to support and fund Hollywood movies made by big companies; movies that are not politically oriented or filled with obscenities, and which only need a 50% support. Unfortunately, Amina's negotiations reached a dead end, even though some of these movies are already shot, became Academy award-winners and were well-received by moviegoers.
Talking about the most prominent names who have contributed to the Emirati film industry, she stated, "there are a lot of names such Nayla Al Khaja, Ali Mostafa and Nawaf Al-Janahi; these are considered the most active and had done projects that deserve to be watched and followed up with. I expect to see more talents that will reveal themselves very soon."
Dasmal referred to the efforts of Dubai International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival in adopting young directors; either by supporting scripts and funding films, or by providing them with cinematic expertise through workshops and specialized technical courses delivered by recognized names, as she hopes to "create and execute Emirati movies capable of holding their own position in the box office."
On marketing Arabic films internationally, she stated that the cinema needs to portray real stories, and that movies need to get their deserved funding. She points out to the importance of benefiting from the experiment of marketing French and Spanish films in order to open the road for Arabic films to be seen across the world.
"The Double is the most important of all the movies I have produced throughout my whole career. That said, I believe that I am still learning with every new film production I present from one year to another. I hope the movie gain a considerable success in the box office after winning many prizes in different film festivals," said Dasmal about her movie, The Double, which was released a week ago across four Arab countries in the GCC.
Co-founded by Emirati Producer Amina Dasmal and British Producer Robin Fox, The Double is the latest film production by Alcove Entertainment. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, and is directed by Richard Ayoade. Adapted from Fyodor Dostoevsky's celebrated novella of the same name, by writer Avi Korine and Richard Ayoade, the film tells the story of Simon, an undervalued man driven to near breakdown by the appearance of his confident and ambitious doppelganger who gets a job at the same company.
In January, 2014, Producer Amina Dasmal's The Double competed at Sundance Film Festival, one of the most prominent independent film festivals in the US, within the Spotlight program, which aims to honor the best film achievements from across the world. The Double also won the Best Actor Award for Jesse Eisenberg within the New Horizons Competition at the 7th Abu Dhabi Film Festival. This came after the film's participation at the Official Competition at Tokyo International Film Festival and 57th BFI London Film Festival.
The Double is now screening in:
UAE: Abu Dhabi | Cine Royale - Dalma Mall, Al-Wahda Mall Cinema, Al Mariah Cinema; Dubai | VOX - Mall of the Emirates, Reel Cinemas - the Dubai Mall, Grand Megaplex - Ibn Battuta Mall; Sharjah | Grand Buhaira; Fujairah | Cineplex.
Qatar: Doha | Grand Cine Centre, Grand Villagio, The Mall, Landmark and Royal Plaza.
Bahrain: Cineco City Center Bahrain and Cineco's Seef Cineplex.
Sultanate of Oman: Muscat | Al-Shatti City Cinema and MGM City Cinema, Sohar | Sohar City Cinema, Salalah | City Cinema Salalah.