You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Imagenation casts first local project

'Sea Shadow' mixes known and fresh talent

ABU DHABI — Imagenation, Abu Dhabi’s $1 billion production arm, has cast its first local project “Sea Shadow,” which includes a mix of known and untapped Emirati talent.

The coming-of-age pic, helmed by Nawaf Al-Janahi, stars Ayesha Abdul Rahman, Hasan Rajab, Bilal Abdullah, Ali Al Jabiri, Ahmad Iraj and Ahmad Al Jasmi, along with Omar AlMulla and Abrar Al Hama.

A slew of new thesps who auditioned for the pic via Imagenation’s emiratifilmstar.com website — the banner’s online platform to source local talent — were also cast in the pic, including Nevan Madi, who takes up a lead role.

Story, penned by Mohamed Hassan Ahmed, follows the lives of two teenagers who feel stifled by the traditions and local culture in their Emirati neighborhood and embark upon a journey of self-discovery through the UAE.

Pic is produced by Daniela Tully and Rami Yasin, and exec produced by Edward Borgerding and Stefan Brunner, all from Imagenation.

Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei also has an executive producer credit on the pic, which begins principal photography Thursday.

Announcement comes in conjunction with the day the Abu Dhabi Film Festival unspools and as the Circle Conference is underway here in the Emirate.

Pic, which reps the first local project from Imagenation, is timely and topical. Speaking Wednesday at the Circle confab, experts from around the globe including Ali Jaafar, exec director of Quinta’s independent film division, “Paranormal Activity” producer Jason Blum and ARTE’s Remi Burah, urged delegates to focus on local and regional production in order to build the core foundations needed to make global impact.

“You can’t accelerate to global before you build locally,” said Jaafar. “Focus should be given to developing a local market and building a collaboration between regional and local films.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Taika Waititi Jojo Rabbit Premiere

    Why Director Taika Waititi Decided to Play Adolf Hitler in 'Jojo Rabbit'

    “Fox Searchlight blackmailed me into doing it,” Taika Waititi told Variety of playing Adolf Hilter in “Jojo Rabbit” at the film’s premiere at American Legion Post 43 on Tuesday night in Hollywood. Staying mum when asked which other actors had been on his wish list to play the role, Waititi explained why he eventually decided [...]

  • Jessica Biel Limetown Premiere

    Why 'Limetown' Star & Producer Jessica Biel Thought the Show Was Based on a True Story

    In a world of increasingly outlandish headlines, the story behind “Limetown” — in which an entire community in rural Tennessee disappears overnight — seems plausible. Even Jessica Biel, who executive produces and stars in the Facebook Watch television adaptation of the hit 2015 podcast, was initially convinced that it was real. “I just thought I [...]

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Watchmen

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks 'Watchmen,' 'Matrix 4': 'I'm Not Nervous At All'

    Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans.  “I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in [...]

  • David Lindelof Watchmen Premiere

    'Watchmen' Creator Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Martin Scorsese's Marvel Criticisms

    Damon Lindelof disagrees with Martin Scorsese about his recent claims that Marvel movies don’t qualify as cinema. The director’s proclamation, along with the polarized critical reception of “Joker,” are the latest salvos in a long history of questioning comic book movies’ place in cinematic history. The lingering question: Can superhero fare be considered “high art?” [...]

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content