Abbas shared perspectives on the industry and his own personal journey directing and producing local content.
Dubai Studio City organised a live and interactive session on Instagram Live with award-winning Emirati writer and director Mustafa Abbas, as part of Reel Talks, a digital weekly series featuring regional industry figures. The series is run in collaboration with in5 Media and ON.DXB, in partnership with the National Media Council.
Abbas shared tips for directing and creating original productions, alongside behind-the-scenes insight from his latest movie The Long Game. The film has won 11 awards including Best Action/Crime Short at the London Independent Film Awards 2020, following success at the New York Film Awards and the Top Shorts Film Festival.
During the live stream, Abbas said filmmakers have great opportunities in the UAE, as the business environment has evolved significantly, particularly in its support of arts and talent. Filmmaking is art characterised by the diversity that brings people together to create and innovate, he said.
The director, filmmaker and entrepreneur advised every aspiring cinematographer to forge their own path; there is no secret formula to success in the creative industries, he added.
However, there is a significant difference between learning and knowledge, and the best way to develop your directorial dexterity is to observe and seek advice. “People confuse imitation with inspiration; find your way,” he said.
Commenting on the role of technology, Abbas said he believes it speeds up film production and reduces costs. He also mentioned that he prefers digital filming, as it allows directors to see what is filmed on the spot, providing room for reshoots.
Abbas has played a big part in developing the local scene for more than a decade. His film Sunset State played in seven countries including the Dubai International Film Festival. He has also been a jury member for several festival and competitions.