Film is first investment by The Culture China – Image Nation Abu Dhabi Content Fund
Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic-speaking world, is pleased to announce that Roman J. Israel, Esq., the first production Image Nation has invested in via its Culture China – Image Nation Abu Dhabi Content Fund, secured an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor for Denzel Washington (two-time Academy Award® winner and now nine-time nominee, including one nomination as a producer, and Golden Globe nominee). Image Nation’s Ben Ross and Derek Dauchy are two of the executive producers on the film.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is upended after his mentor, a civil rights icon, dies. When Roman is recruited to join a firm led by one of the legendary man’s former students – the ambitious lawyer George Pierce (Colin Farrell) – and begins a friendship with a young champion of equal rights (Carmen Ejogo), a turbulent series of events ensue that will put the activism that has defined Roman’s career to the test.
Written and directed by Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ was produced by Jennifer Fox, Todd Black and Denzel Washington. Executive Producers are Brian Oliver, Betsy Danbury, Charles D. King, Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Michael Bloom, Adam Pincus, Aaron L. Gilbert, Alex Lebovici, Steve Ponce, Derek Dauchy, and Ben Ross. Columbia Pictures presents Roman J. Israel, Esq. in association with Macro Media / Topic / Cross Creek Pictures / Bron Creative / The Culture China – Image Nation Abu Dhabi Content Fund, a Jennifer Fox / Escape Artists Production.
Commenting on the awards recognition, Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi said: “We are delighted that Denzel Washington’s outstanding performance in Roman J. Israel, Esq. has garnered an Oscar® nomination. For Image Nation, our international film production investments are strategically made to ensure we can continue to invest in, nurture and produce local productions with local Arab talent, and this level of recognition for one of our international investments really helps to showcase the caliber of productions Image Nation is involved with at a global level.”
Image Nation Abu Dhabi recently premiered its local production Shebab Sheyab in North America to critical acclaim at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The feel-good drama/comedy is written and directed by filmmaker and music video pioneer Yasir Al Yasiri (Ma Asab Al Kalam), produced by Rami Yasin (Zinzana, The Worthy), with Emirati director Majid Al Ansari (Zinzana) serving as Executive Producer along with Mansour Al Feeli (Qalb Al Adala). Yasiri also serves as executive producer.
The narrative follows four elderly men spending the latter years of their lives in a senior home who are down and dejected, until their world is turned around when one of them inherits 50 million dirhams and is able to support the dreams they had all but forgotten. The production enlists an all-star cast of Arabic talent including renowned Kuwaiti actor Saad Al Faraj (Souq Al Maqases, Darb Al Zalag); Syrian star Salloum Hadad (Al Kawasir As Shaqeef); Emirati actors Mansoor Al Feeli (Qalb al Adala, Dishoom) and Marie Al Halyan (KhiyanatWatan, Wadeema Wa Haleema) in the four lead roles.
Also featured are Kuwaiti stars Fuad Ali (Al Am Saqer), Laila Abdallah (Tariq Show), and Abdullah Aljunaibi (Djinn, 8 Hours).
Shebab Sheyab is one of three local feature films recently made in the region by Image Nation alongside Rashid & Rajab and Scales.