Write a movie and tell your UAE story to the world with Arjun Kumar
Producer looking to bring your experiences to the screen with global directors
HAVE YOU EVER dreamed of being a screenwriter? Do you possess a story so enthralling you can’t believe George Clooney isn’t banging down your door hoping to play the lead part? Well, if you live in the UAE, Dubai-based filmmaker Arjun Kumar may just be able to grant your wish. Launching today, the man behind Anthem Entertainment and Bollywood franchises including Welcome, Hera Pheri and Awara Paagal Deewana is on the search for six short stories from the lives of local citizens from across the globe who have made this country their home.
“This is the first time an initiative like this is taking place in the UAE,” Kumar told us yesterday. “When we think of movies made here you think of Mission Impossible, Welcome Back or Fast & Furious: glitz and glamour. But the UAE also has different nationalities and a mix of cultures. It’s a pot pourri, so I want to use my sunshine being a UAE resident for the last 15 years and a producer to tell stories of the people of the UAE.”
Kumar said he is looking for submissions, either fiction or factual, along the themes of ‘hope’, ‘love’ and ‘dreams’ with the rationale they best sum up the UAE. The six final choices will be brought together as an anthology each made by a different director from across the world as well as local talent on and behind the camera.
“We want to keep it open,” Kumar said when asked about the criteria entrants should bear in mind. “We will ensure characters will be talking in languages that suit them. We will remain language agnostic.”
The producer only stressed the emphasis on the three themes as writers’ guiding lights.
“It could be about anything. It could be a retailer who has come here and become an industrialist, or someone who struggled to be a writer at home and has come here and become a journalist,” Kumar gave as an example of premises.
Revealing he has already spoken to a number of directors he counts as personal friends and colleagues, the roster of visionaries could look as diverse as the tales being told.
“I’m in touch with a lot of directors from the whole Indian film industry, the Bengali and Malayalam for example, but I’ve spoken with my friends in Hollywood and in the Arab film world as well. There is a lot of excitement.”
Kumar is setting a deadline of six months from today to receive story ideas and synopses via email (address below).
Whether the finished product ends up in cinemas, streaming platforms or both remains to be seen, though Kumar has been impressed by OTTs rising to the demand created by the pandemic and releasing previously untapped gold onto the market.
“Look at Money Heist,” he said. “It was Spanish and everyone watched it. Language is no longer a barrier so you can make the stories you want to.”
On why he wants to complete this project, Kumar’s response was simple.
“I am thankful to the UAE for embracing me. This is my own humble way of giving back.”
Email your story ideas or synopsis to email@example.com
Listen to this story and more with today's 8@8 with David Light. Eight minutes of local UAE news and discussion for a more informed Wednesday.