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Nasser Aldhaheri : The Real Desert Filmmaker 

I had to travel and read and enter the cinema twice a week at least.I had to make a lot of money for a professional art work

- Nasser Aldhaheri-

Born in Al-Ain 1960
- Completed primary school in Al-Ain
- Completed secondary school in Abu Dhabi
- Holds a Bachelor degree from the UAE University (major: media/French literature)
- High education from the French Institute for Media Studies/ Sorbonne University-Paris
- Head of military media
- Editor in chief/ Der’ Al-Watan journal
- Editor in chief/ Al-Ittihad newspaper
- General director & editor in chief/ Arab press & media / Almar’a Al yawm / Al-rajol alyawm/ Alriyada alyawm/ Shabab alyawm/ Atfal alyawm
- Editor in chief / Disney Publications- Warner brothers-BBC, Arabic editions for children
- Head of Emirates Writers Union
- Member of the International Organization of Journalists
- Member of the advisory committee for the project: “ a book in a newspaper” / UNISCO
- Member of the board of trustees of Arab Journalism Award-Dubai
- Editor in chief of “Al-Dhafrah” journal
- Executive editor of Dar Al-Sayyad publications, Fairuz journal, Al-Edari journal, Al-Faris journal- Lebanon
- Publisher & Editor in chief of “hdhod.com” AR- ENG- FR- ESP-PERS.
- His works include:
- When the palm trees are buried (a collection of short stories)
- On the move, traveling far…deep (essays)
- A step in life, two in death (a collection of short stories)
- What the sea has left for land (essays)
- Their voices (a book on the Gulf’s male storytellers) - joint work with Badr Abdulmalik
- Their voices (a book on the Gulf’s female storytellers) - joint work with Badr Abdulmalik
- The eighth column 1, 2 (essays)
- The bird, with a detached wing (novel)
- Night euphoria interrupted by the day (collection of stories)
- The UAE Armed Forces- Roll Of Honour.
- Walking on the salt.. with his hands ashes- stories
Q: Tell us how "A tale of water, palm trees and family" evolved.
A: I had to travel and read and enter the cinema twice a week at least.I had to make a lot of money for a professional art work. I had to write the story from an epic perspective of the story of the family, and how they formed an ancient civilization dating back four thousand years, today the world does not know us only after the emergence of oil, but we have cultures, customs, traditions and long tales about the struggle of man and nature, how they carved the rock for water, and planted the palm trees for life.

Q: Did you have any unusual difficulties during filming?
A:The difficulty was in creating the common language of the Dutch-speaking team, how they could adjust to the long-term sea, desert and mountain landscapes, how they could enter a strange society in their customs and traditions, and understand little details about people's lives and the aesthetics of the place, but after a while we were able to create that homogeneity and harmony between the team.


Q: Will winning awards help promote the documentary? How so?
A: Any award won by the film will be in its artistic balance, and be proud of the workers in the film, and recognize the great effort and successful work, and serve the film in terms of marketing, which is a complex process because it balances the commercial work and artistic work.

Q: How much money did it cost?
A: The film "a tale of Water, Palm Trees and family" is the longest film in the UAE,142. Minets, with a high production cost, because it is a private production, it costed of one million two hundred and fifty thousand euros, filmed within a year and two months across UAE, the post production was in Amsterdam and Munich, it has taken 6 months and was translated into English, French and Spanish.

Q: How did you finance that?
A:The financing of the film is personal financing, because I believe in the importance of cinema, and the importance of being in the UAE an advanced cinema, with high techniques and professionalism that the world knows and recognizes. It is part of a dream that I realized today. the film is a realization of the old generation sacrifice and fatigue, and it is a commandment on neck of the new generation to know the value of what man has offered here for life.

Q: Where were the locations?
A:Shooting was in all the lands of the UAE we went from the far north to the south and from the far east to the west, accompanied by fishermen at dawn, and we ate lunch with the peasants amid the forest of palm trees,we went to the top of the mountains to see the stone houses and how the wheat is grown there, we went through the desert day and night and ate from the people eating. The simple people gathered with them around the fire in the cold desert night and drank from their coffee in the morning. It was a beautiful trip and exiting.

Q: Any bites yet from distributors?
A:Yes, there are local television stations that want to show the film. We have the largest airline companies, “Al Ittihad” and “Emirates”, which can be shown during their travels around the world. There is a”Arabic National Geographic Channel”, but the film has not yet been commercially shown in cinemas. Maybe on February 2018

Q: What has the feedback been so far?
A:The reactions have been so encouraging that it has been shown so far in 20 international film festivals in America in three different festivals: Canada, New Zealand, Norway, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in Madrid, Barcelona, Indonesia, in Bali, and Jakarta, India, the UAE in Dubai international film festival and others. The film is rich in terms of content, cultural material,cinema photograph and direction.

Q: What was the best part of the project?
A: Was one of the beautiful things that the film estimated to be captured and documented for older men at the end of their age and prepare from the old generation, which has experienced a lot of political and social events, they are the memory of the remaining homeland.

Q: What was the most challenging?
A: The most difficult thing was how we would perform the rituals of invoking the jinn or "zar" in the middle of the night in the middle of the mountains. This is the first time that these rituals have appeared in the cinema as real scenes. The Dutch team did not know what was going on? And what happens? And what is the benefit? And other mysterious questions.

Q: Are you pleased with the overall outcome?
A: Yes, I'm happy with what I did with this beautiful film, which took part in 20 international film festivals, and won sixteen different awards: seven awards as best director, best foreign film twice, best story twice, best content, best film cultural preservation, and best feature documentary film four awards, It is a great experience, and a man cannot always do an epic film such as "a tale of Water, Palm Trees and family".

Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the documentary?
A: I wish the documentary filmmakers to take care of all the artistic processes, because in the end this is a cinema and this is a film in the first place. The beautiful idea is not enough if you do not find professional photography, montage, fine music, sound design and other technical things that are ignored by many of the documentary films makers.

Q: How long did it take to complete the documentary?
A: One year and two months shooting and around six months for post-production and three languages subtitles.

Q: How do you feel to have won the Best Film in the 2017 International Film Festival for Documentary, Short, and Comedy?
A:This is one of the sixteen awards that the film has earned in roaming the world's cities and festivals, and each award means something different to me, an emphasis on the importance of this film, and the aesthetics of film art in it.

Q: Why is these subject (water, palm trees and family) important to you?
A:As they are the components of civilization in the UAE and the source of its diverse culture and tolerance, which is a model in the world where today lives on the land of the UAE 204 nationalities from around the world in harmony and understanding and tolerance.

Q: Does this film send the message you intended?
A:As I told you first this film recognition of the importance and the right of the old generations to fatigue and pain and sacrifice in building a stable life on this land for thousands of years, a testament to the emergence of the new generation who found an easy and generous life, not to forget the thanks and recognition of the grandfathers right.

Q: Why the title "A tale of water, palm trees and family"?
A:That is my story, my life, and my homeland song.

Q: Is there anything in the past happened to you, that make you make this movie? If yes, what is this?
A: No..

Q: Do you personally know anyone who inspires this documentary?
A:I do not think so.

Q: How many awards has the documentary won?
A: as I told before 16 awards from over the world.

Q: Any unique stories during the making of the documentary?
A:Ah, yes, while filming the bullfighter in the most areas of the UAE in Fujairah, a huge bull attacked us, and fled from the defeated bull to the camera and the photographer and director and some technical team,we leaved the camera alone and we run away of him, and the camera is the only victim, thanks God.

Q: Are you working on any new projects?
If yes, can you give a glance about it?
A: Yes, there is a film I am editing now in Turkey called "The Goddess of Time", a philosophical film looking for the dialectics of man and time, who follows who? Who precedes the other, and who will have eternity? It is an experimental film of an international nature in poetic language.

Related links:

  • Cheryl Halpern: The Woman Fighter

  • Yunus Shahul: The Future Assassin

  • Joon Bai: Labor of Love

  • Iara Lee: The Suffering Grasses

  • Ilchi Lee: The Spiritualist


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