Image Nation Abu Dhabi makes a big splash at 59th BFI London Film Festival

September 2015 Three films to celebrate their European premieres: He Named Me Malala, Rattle the Cage (Zinzana) and From A to B

Abu Dhabi, September 1, 2015: Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic-speaking world, announced today that three of its films will have their European premieres at the prestigious BFI London Film Festival next month.

London audiences will have the opportunity to see two Emirati films produced by Image Nation – psychological thriller Rattle the Cage (Zinzana) androad-trip comedy From A to B – as well as the highly anticipated international documentary He Named Me Malala.

Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation, said: “To have three films screened at the prestigious BFI London Film Festival is a great achievement and a testament to the growth of the UAE film industry.  It’s especially gratifying to have two young Emirati directors represented, along with the Academy Award winning director Davis Guggenheim.”

The psychological thriller will have its world premiere later this month at Fantastic Fest – the leading genre film festival, based in Austin, Texas and isdirected by first time feature filmmaker Majid Al Ansari and produced by Rami Yasin. Rattle the Cage (Zinzana) tells the story of a young man trapped in a prison cell forced to play a madman’s game in order to save the lives of his family. The film stars Ali Suliman (Paradise Now), Saleh Bakri (Salvo, The Time Remains) and Saudi actress Ahd (Wadjda).

Al Ansari said: “I’m very excited to be screening my film at the BFI London Film Festival this October. The festival has been a champion of emerging filmmakers for over 60 years, and I am so pleased they are supporting my first ever feature film. This is a great opportunity for not only myself and my team, but for Emirati filmmakers and the growing industry in the UAE.”

Directed by pioneering Emirati filmmaker Ali Mostafa, the hit comedy drama was co-produced by twofour54 and Image Nation, and topped the iTunes charts across the Middle East earlier this year. From A to B is a ‘dramedy’ thatfollows the adventures of three childhood friends on a road trip from Abu Dhabi to Beirut, in memory of their deceased friend. It stars YouTube sensation Fahad Albutairi and Egyptian comedian Shadi Alfons (Al Bernameg).

Mostafa said: “I consider London my second home. My mother is from there, I was born there, I first trained as a filmmaker at the London Film School, so I’m excited that my second feature film has been selected for this high-profile festival.

From A to B’s festival circuit has been a dream – having opened in my capital city of Abu Dhabi, screened in my home of Dubai and now set to have its European premiere in the city where I was born.  I’m looking forward to sharing From A to B with audiences in London and to celebrate this moment with my fellow filmmaker Majid and the team at Image Nation.”

He Named Me Malala, directed by Academy Award-winner Davis Guggenheim, will screen at the Toronto Film Festival this September ahead of its European premiere in London. The film is an intimate portrait of Malala Yousafzai, who was wounded when Taliban gunmen opened fire on her and her friends’ school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

He Named Me Malala is being released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, in association with Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Participant Media, with National Geographic Channel. The documentary was produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald under their long-term partnership with Image Nation. 

Michael Garin, CEO at Image Nation said: “This remarkable achievement demonstrates the calibre of our productions and the rapid growth of the UAE film industry.  Our participation in the BFI London Film Festival follows a strong year for Image Nation as we ramped up our film and TV production, both internationally and regionally.”

In addition to its line-up at BFI London Film Festival, Image Nation is currently in production with Ali Mostafa’s next feature Worthy and James Ponsoldt’s modern day thrillerThe Circle.

Worthy, an action/thriller currently in production, is being produced by Rami Yasin along with Hollywood genre veterans Peter Safran and Steven Schneider.

Image Nation is fully financing the feature adaptation of Dave Eggers’ contemporary thriller The Circle starring Tom Hanks. IM Global is handling international while the US rights are jointly represented by UTA and CAA. The film will be presented by Image Nation Abu Dhabi in association with Parkes MacDonald Productions.