Alejandra Val Cubero (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid), Nujoom Alghanem: Filming in the United Arab Emirates
Résumé de la communication:
The history of cinema in United Arab Emirates is recent, it’s no more than 30 years old. Ali Al Abdul’s Abr Sabeel (1989) is considered the first Emirati feature film, although it was never released in commercial movie theatres. And we can count on the fingers of one hand the number of women working as filmmakers, screenwriters or producers in the country: Nayla Al Khaja is the only one who has recently made a feature film The Shadow (2019). In this context, Nujoom Alghahem is really a pioneer, not only as a filmmaker but also as a journalist, a poet, and a video-artist. After her studies in the USA and Australia, she filmed twelve documentaries, most of them dealing with two principal topics: artist from the UAE (Najat Makki and Hassan Sharif) and the lives or people living between two worlds before and after the economic development of the country, like a sea rower in Dubai creek, a healer, a camel´s owner or a beekeeper, professions which are now disappearing. In the last three years, probably because of the cancellation of Abu Dhabi Film Festival (2009-2015) and Dubai International Film Festival (2006-2017), important places for the promotion of Arab cinema and Emirati cinema in particular, and where most documentaries by Nujoom Alghanem were screened for the first time, she has been working on video installations like Writer’s Room (2018), Rain on my Skin (2018) Forest Under the Sea (2018) and Passage (2019).
Alejandra Val Cubero is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Communication at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, where she teaches Audiovisual Communication. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at Zayed University (UAE). Val Cubero has conducted Postdoctoral Research at Harvard University (USA) and Jawaharlal Nehru (India). She has also worked in the Press Department of the Institute for Women (Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs) and as a consultant at Altai Research in Afghanistan. Val Cubero has published more than twenty articles on topics related to media and cinema and as well as five books. The last two books focus on the life and work of the Bengali film director Aparna Sen (2015) and the French filmmaker Alice Guy (2016). Alejandra Val is also curating the Arab section in different Cinema Festivals like the Women Festival in Madrid and she is currently working in a new book: Contemporary Arab Filmmakers in the Maghreb.