Under the banner of AFM Films, Mostafa is producing the film in collaboration with MAD Solutions, which is also handling international rights.
Emirati-British filmmaker Ali F Mostafa has revealed, as published in Deadline, that he is developing a new feature, the follow-up sequel to his 2009 breakout debut City Of Life.
Like its predecessor, Mostafa’s new film will revolve around three characters.
They will be a Saudi Arabian high school student who has moved to Dubai for a fresh start after a dramatic event in his life; a Nigerian security guard working in the nightlife world, and a Chinese character, who travels to the city in search of her sister who has been missing for a year.
Mostafa is producing the film under the banner of his Dubai-based company AFM Films in co-production with MAD Solutions, which is also handling international rights.
Speaking about the film, Mostafa said: “I felt it was time to make a sequel because I started realizing how Dubai has changed so much. From 2009 to where we are today, not only is Dubai structurally, and physically changed, but when you go out you feel it has changed.
“It’s a lot more populated. We’re a lot more open to things we weren’t open to before. The region’s changed. There is less censorship in certain areas.
“Each one of these characters connects, as was the case in the first film, and ends up changing the others’ lives without physically meeting one another.”
For now, the project is working titled City Of Life Continuem but the director emphasizes that it will be standalone.
“You won’t have to have seen the first one, but there will be elements with nostalgic value for those who saw the original,” he said.
For example, some of the characters from the original, such as Jason Flemyng who played an advertising exec, could return but fleetingly in the backdrop.
“In the first one, the characters were Indian, Western European and Emirati. In this new one, we’ll have Saudi Arabia, China and Africa. Five, six years from now, there could be another one with a different set of nationalities. Dubai is made for this,” he said.
Mostafa takes a story by credit with rising Dubai-based Pakistani writer and director Faisal Hashmi writing the screenplay.
“He’s made a few shorts and I asked him to send me a couple of scripts and I was very impressed. We worked on the treatment. It went well and then we worked on the screenplay together,” stated Mostafa.
“Twelves years after it first came out, City Of Life remains one of the Emirates’ most beloved feature films, with a cult status at home. When Ali told us about his plans for the feature we couldn’t resist,” added MAD Solutions co-heads Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab.
The partners are in talks with potential co-producers in China and the UAE and casting is underway with Mostafa keen to connect with Nollywood for the Nigerian role.
The film will be Mostafa’s fourth feature after City Of Life, the road trip movie From A To B and the dystopian drama The Worthy.