Mostafa sets the three, free

The UAE’s premier filmmaker Ali Mostafa finally lifted the lid on his long awaited feature film at the Dubai International Film Festival yesterday.

By David Light

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Published: Mon 15 Dec 2008, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:52 PM

‘City of Life,’ will be a completely Emirati enterprise, financed and produced in the UAE and featuring a line up of local talent alongside a few international imports in the cast and crew.

‘City of Life’ will tell the story of three individuals played by UAE local Saoud Al Ka’abi, Alexandra Maria Lara and Bollywood hot prospect Sonu Sood living in Dubai and how the briefest of encounters can change lives forever. A wealthy Emirati man, an Indian taxi driver and a western woman’s fates will spiral in very different directions, for better or worse, as a result of their interactions in and around the city.

The movie, which will start principal photography in February and hopefully be an entry in next year’s DIFF, will have each of the characters speaking their native languages; Arabic, English and Hindi with subtitles in English. From the high end villas in exclusive locations to the more humble residential areas, each sector of Dubai’s society will have their voice portrayed in a screenplay likened in style to the Academy Award winning Hollywood film ‘Crash.’

With high expectations for ‘City of Life’ to be the first UAE motion picture to break through and become an international success, Ali Mostafa’s undertaking has been very well received in cultural circles not least by his sponsors which include the Dubai Cultural and Arts Foundation. “This is not the first Emirati film and Inshallah it will not be the last Emirati film. We are looking to create a film infrastructure here.” Mostafa stated. He continued, “This is not an Arabic film. It is an international film. That is why the title is in English. It will be classified as a foreign film not specifically a Khaleeji movie but creatively I want to make something that we will all be proud of as UAE nationals. “

“With regards to ‘City of Life’ being shot in three languages we hope it will be received as ‘Babel’ was.”

Tim Smythe, the picture’s producer commented on the business side. “It’s an adequate budget for a complex film. There are stunts and a large cast. It is worth mentioning though that financing was secured a year ago so we are not affected by the economic crisis.” He added, “This is going to set a precedent for filmmaking in the UAE and hopefully after us a director will be able to come along and make films in an easier and more cost effective way.”

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