Discovering New Turf with ‘Enigma’

DUBAI — Bursting with energy, the 
first year Applied Communication students of Dubai Women’s College, Alia Al Shamlan, Fatma Al Bastaki and Mariam Al Nuaimi could hardly hide their excitement after the first public screening of their 2-minute short film ‘Enigma’ at the second edition of the Gulf Film Festival.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 13 Apr 2009, 12:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:14 AM

Enigma is a two-minute short-film about a young man watching a horror film, while he is babysitting his siblings. Deeply engrossed in the movie, he is occasionally bothered by his younger siblings so much so he makes the horror on television a reality for the kids.

“I think the film is a thriller/comedy. We originally made the movie for a short film competition for MBC 2, and even though we were selected, we didn’t win the competition. But the screening here in the Gulf Film Festival is a big deal for us,” said 17-year-old Alia Al Shamlan. Except for some criticism from men, the students said that being a budding film-maker in the UAE is a privilege. “There are so many opportunities here, and Dubai has a relatively new film fraternity as compared to the other GCC and Arab countries so we have a lot of openings here,” said Fatma Al Bastaki.

“Yes, you do have people coming and telling you, that you’re a girl and you aren’t supposed to be out like, say, 11 in the night, but things are slowly changing now. We dress in the appropriate manner, and we speak to men in a professional manner,” added Al Shamlan.

The girls said that, a few years back women weren’t even seen in the field of arts, and they have come very far in a short span of time.

“We chose to make a two-minute film because this is our second film initiative, and we did not want to risk making a longer film,” said Fatma. The girls said that their University gave them a lot of encouragement. They were provided with the camera and equipment, and the editing was done in the college. “We also had a lot of support from our friends and family members,” said Fatma. “We aspire to do more full length feature films of social relevance in the future,” said the girls.

The students draw a lot of inspiration from Emirati film-makers Nayla Al Khaja and Mariam Al Sarkal. “I love Bollywood films, especially the ones directed by Yash Chopra,” said Alia.

The girls love the typical Hindi films love stories with the song and dance sequences. “Indian movie have this trademark stamp on them; Ghajini is the best film of the year” said Alia.

The girls are currently working on scripting a documentary feature.

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