Man we love – Man Behind the Lens

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Branded as the ‘Best Emirati filmmaker’ at the Dubai International Film Festival, British- Emirati, Ali F. Mostafa has received wide acclaim for ‘City of Life’, his directorial debut of the first Emirati Feature film in 2009. Since then, his work in the advertising industry has garnered much attention and his latest project ‘From A to B’ has film buffs waiting with bated breath. Shweta Bhatia spoke to the talented director about his passion for film making

What is your normal day like?
There really isn’t any routine in my life. For instance, currently I’m in postproduction editing my film. There are days where I’m prepping a commercial, attending events, traveling, or blessed to just not doing anything at all. I use those days as a chance to catch up on a normal day in my children’s life.

What made you get into films?
I’ve been into films since I was about nine years old, possibly earlier. Back then, I was making rubbish until I eventually realized how they’re made.

How do you think Arabic cinema has changed today?
It’s definitely changed. But what I can proudly say is how Emirati cinema is igniting an even bigger change in Arab cinema, especially under the wings of Image Nation Abu Dhabi and their new genre slate that’s never been done before.

Tell us about your current and future ventures?
Well, my last film ‘From A to B’ is a different take on a dramedy, road trip movie which just premiered at the London Film Festival and got picked up by distribution giants Studio Canal for the United Kingdom, which was amazing news. But I have recently wrapped my third film, The Worthy, an action thriller set in 2034. In a nutshell, it is the first post-apocalyptic Arab film.

What do you do when not making films?
I am trying to spend as much time with my family as possible.

What kind of genre do you lean towards and why?
Well there isn’t anything specific as I’ve realized I like to try everything. I definitely lean towards a challenge. That’s for sure.

One actor you would love to direct?
There are so many I would love to work with. But if I were to think Bollywood. I’d say Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan, since I’ve already directed the ever so kind, Sonu Sood. In fact, one of my dreams is to direct a Bollywood film!

Your advice to aspiring filmmakers?
I would pass on my essential three ‘P’s’.They are to always be passionate, stay patient, and always persevere.

If you weren’t into films what would you be doing?
I’d probably work in interior design as I dabbled in it professionally for a couple of years. I love the idea of being able to create something from nothing.

Describe your personal style, the essentials in your closet?
Given my career, I have an overwhelming amount of tuxedos! But essentials would be a tough leather biker jacket or a classic Burberry Trench.