Five Minute Focus – Anwar Roma (Lights of Rome)

Team TMN chat with Matt Slater, Co-founder of Seven Media and Executive Producer of The Lights of Rome, to talk about the premier of Ali Khaled’s new documentary: Anwar Roma (Lights of Rome)…

What was it that stood out about this story that compelled you to make this documentary?

The 1990 World Cup resonated with many people from my generation, that are almost 40 years old now, as it was probably the first World Cup we watched as young kids. When the UAE qualified for the World Cup in 1989, it was one of the most important sporting moments in the country’s history and yet, there are very few people that know about it.

What makes this story so unique?

The UAE was only 19 years old when it qualified and at that time, was the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup. It is a real underdog story and even though we all know the outcome, when watching the old footage in the film you still find yourself rooting for the UAE.

The film is also unique as it doesn’t only focus on football, but gives an insight into what the UAE was like at that time – which I know expats and international viewers will find fascinating.

Tell us how the collaboration with Image Nation came about?

Seven Media has been the retained PR agency for Image Nation for the past three years and has always enjoyed a close relationship with them. When the Director, Ali and I came up with the idea, we felt that it fits Image Nation’s mandate perfectly. Its documentary department strives to make films that are of importance to the Emirati culture and history which made them jump at the chance to create this film.

What were your most challenging moments while producing the film?

The archive footage was the hardest to source. The games were barely covered in the local press, so finding footage from the qualifying games was particularly hard for our team. Hana Makki, the film’s Producer from Image Nation, spent over a year and half sourcing the archive footage alone.

What was the reaction at the World Premiere at DOC NYC, New York?

We received an incredible reaction at DOC NYC – something we were slightly apprehensive about – being that it was an Arabic documentary, about the UAE and football! But it was very well received. We had audience members tell us how much they loved learning more about the UAE and its history – which is one of the reasons we made this film in the first place.

How do you think UAE nationals and residents will react to the film?

The story will definitely resonate with UAE nationals. This was an incredible moment in UAE history and something that should be celebrated. We also hope the day of the release, which is December 1, 2016 in time for UAE’s National day, will ignite patriotism around the film.

For expat residents who have recently moved here, the archive footage of the UAE from the 70s and 80s is fascinating. The film is not only entertaining, but you might learn a thing or two about the Emirates that you didn’t know before.

This is also a film about football at the end of the day and sport is one of those things that unite people around the world when you oversee language and cultural barriers and so we hope this film will reflect that.

How long did the creation of the documentary take, from conceptualisation to the very first premier?

Ali and I had our first chat about the idea just after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Image Nation then started production around two years ago and our team was still in the editing room the day before the premiere! Since the film is largely made up of archive footage, that’s what took the bulk of the work.

Do you plan on premiering the film in any other countries in the region?

There are no plans yet for regional screenings, following the film’s New York premiere and UAE release. There are a host of film festivals dedicated to sporting films which The Lights of Rome would be perfect for and so we hope it will be screened around the world. The film is a great opportunity to showcase not only this great moment in sporting history, but the UAE’s rich culture and history as well.

Where will the premier take place in the UAE and where will it be showing?

The premiere will be at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi on December 1, 2016 and will hit selected theatres across the UAE including, Nation Towers, World Trade Center Mall, Dubai Mall, Derrfields Mall, Dalma Mall, Cineplex Grand Hyatt and City Centre Fujairah.

CNN launches new forum

CNN hosts its first Middle East Business Forum this week at the Four Seasons, Abu Dhabi. The theme for the forum was Beyond Oil in the Changing World with over 350 members in attendance and started out with keynote speeches by former President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso and Mubadala’s Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, H.E Khaldoon Al Mubarak. The forum served as a platform for discussions among key influencers in the Middle East in the field of business and will be aired on CNN International on December 9, 2016.
“This inaugural CNN Middle East Business Forum was a platform of informed and intelligent discussion amongst key influencers about the opportunities and challenges in the Middle East during a time of seismic change,” says Rani R. Raad, President, CNN International Commercial. “We are proud to have worked with our partners Mubadala and twofour54 to bring together news-makers, agenda-setters and business leaders for meaningful debates about what the future holds.”

Arab Woman Awards UAE 2016 pays special tribute

The Arab Woman Awards UAE 2016 is set to take place on Saturday, December 10, 2016 in Sharjah in honour of the late Vice-chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Ameera BinKaram. The private event will include an exclusive video of Ameera as a special tribute from the establishment itself. The awards will also focus on raising public awareness of the significant achievements by Arab women and to provide young women with inspirational role models.

“Like everyone we were shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Ameera BinKaram,” says Sue Holt, Executive Director, ITP Publishing. “Ameera was a previous Arab Woman Award winner, who then became the chair of our judges’ board. She was an amazing and passionate person, who celebrated the successes of women from across the region. It is with great pride that we are taking this year’s award ceremony to Sharjah as a sign of respect and to honour her significant contributions.”

Dubai Eye makes new appointment

Dubai-based radio station, Dubai Eye, part of Arabian Radio Network (ARN) has appointed Robbie Greenfield to the role of Presenter and Senior Producer of radio sports show, Sports Tonight. With over 13 years of publishing experience, Robbie most recently worked as Editor of Golf Digest Middle East, part of Motivate Publishing. In his new role he will host the Sports Tonight show from 7pm – 9pm every weekday, delivering live coverage across all the region’s major sporting events.

“Having worked on Dubai Eye‘s sports output on a freelance basis for the past few years, the opportunity to take a full-time role came at the perfect time,” says Robbie Greenfield. “I’m really excited to hopefully play a part in growing the Sports Tonight brand and bringing sport in the region to life for the station’s listeners.”

MEPRA announces 2016 award winners

Winners of the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Awards 2016 were announced last night at the eighth annual awards event held at the JW Marriott Marquis. The ceremony recognised the most outstanding communicators for their best practices, which includes strategic approach, creative tactics and evaluation excellence. With over 240 entries, 17 notable winners were announced including Weber Shandwick MENA, winning Agency of the Year Award, Impact Porter Novelli, for the integrated Campaign of the Year and Atlantis the Palm, sweeping up the award for In-house Team of the Year. Other winners also emerging in multiple categories include Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Cicero & Bernay PR and Four Communications.

“We are thoroughly impressed by the superb level of creativity and innovation demonstrated in the entries that we have received for this year’s awards,” says said Brian Lott, Chairman, MEPRA and Executive Director of Communications, Mubadala. “It is with immense pleasure that we honour the crème de la crème of the regional communications industry tonight. We are confident that this can only raise the bar for everyone in the business as

Hussein M. Dajani wins marketing leadership award

With over 15 years of marketing experience, Hussein M. Dajani, Chief Operating Officer, hug digital, has secured a position in the 50 Most Influential Digital Marketing Leaders at the awards ceremony that took place on November 24, 2016 in Mumbai. Hosted by the World Marketing Congress, the three-day award ceremony that commenced on November 23, 2016 includes awards for individuals and organisations across the fields of marketing, social media, public relations, broadcasting, publishing and advertising as well as corporate communications.

“I am ecstatic and humbled by this recognition,” says Hussein M. Dajani, Chief Operating Officer, hug digital. “I am delighted that all those years of hard work and passion that I spent challenging the status quo and pushing hug digital forward have led me to this honourable position. With every achievement, comes new challenges and this is just the beginning for me. I hope that I continue to exceed expectations and ensure that more people from our region get recognised for their hard work, passion, dedication and commitment to boost quantifiable digital marketing.”