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NAYLA Al Khaja, who is
understood to be the first Music legend A R Rahman
female filmmaker in the (left) with Baab director
United Arab Emirates, is in
Cannes with two-time Nayla Al Khaja
Oscar-winning music director A R
Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) to talk © DR
about her upcoming feature film Baab.
Rahman, who is scoring the music for the strangely happy. It’s extremely visual and combination of his sounds and the new voice,” Rahman said.
upcoming mystery, has composed and it’s very delicate. We go deep into her Arabian pictures is something that is “The image of Arab women in the world
produced original scores and songs for mind and her mind is manifested through unique in the proposition. This is the first is that they’re very safe, they’re very
more than 145 films and sold more than her fantasy world, which is in the time you will see a merging of the arts like conservative. This film will break all those
200 million records worldwide during his mountains,” — the Jebel Jais mountain this.” norms,” Al Khaja said. “We have women
three-decade-long career. range in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, has never Rahman was involved in putting together hanging from trees, which they shouldn’t
Baab is Al Khaja’s second feature as a been seen before in a feature film and is the first all-female orchestra, assembled for be — we have a director who is really
director and her first arthouse film. “I central to Al Khaja’s narrative. Expo 2020 in Dubai. Realising how Al pushing the envelope, but with respect
co-wrote this with the veteran writer Another driving force in the film is the Khaja’s story breaks many of the and taste and class.”
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, who is extremely music and Al Khaja and Rahman are stereotypes attributed to Arab women, he Elly Senger-Weiss and Sultan Al Darmaki
respected — he has been our godfather for working together to ensure that the story, decided that the orchestra should are producing Baab, with Muna Easa Al
many, many years. He helped create the the images and the music are in-step contribute to her film’s soundtrack. Gurg as executive producer. The film starts
parts where fantasy merges with reality; he throughout. “Working with a legend like “When I heard about Nayla’s story and her shooting in Ras Al Khaimah in March
has been extremely hands-on. I’m working A R is such an honour,” she said. “The vision I thought, oh my God, this needs a 2023. ✦
with two giants on this film, so I have to Julian Newby
deliver,” she said.
Baab begins with the discovery of cassette
tapes hidden behind a green door which
leads Wahida down a dark path. Unable to
make sense of her twin sister’s mysterious
death she is plagued by a haunting rhythm
in her ears. Fantasy and reality merge as
she goes deep into the mountains while
struggling to deal with her unresolved
“I’ve always been really passionate about
art and this is a film that looks like a
moving art work, a moving painting,” Al
Khaja said. “Everything is off by a second.
Nothing follows the normal linear line,
you know? The whole film will make you
feel very uncomfortable, and sad, but also


Diversity in Cannes, the
independent global film

Y movement promoting
Davis at JuVee Productions. In her pursuit Village, Day 2, Wednesday, May 25, concludes with a professional screening,
to level the playing field, and provide an kicks off with a continental breakfast spotlighting black women in film at
intimate platform for diverse filmmakers and will extend into the Marché du Film 16.00 in Palais Fand, and a cocktail
telling stories specific to marginalised at Pavillon Afriques, for the world reception at Pavillon Afriques. In

inclusion at the Cannes Film people globally, Brinkley and the Diversity premiere of The Invitation, a short film solidarity, black women attending the

Festival, is returning to the Croisette, for in Cannes team have worked to make commemorating 75 years of The Links, Celebration of Black Women in Film are

the 13th year, with Diversity Days on May their second semi-post pandemic Incorporated, directed by Wendy Eley invited to wear black, white and yellow

23 and 25. This year kicks off with the appearance at the Cannes Film Festival. Jackson. Immediately following the attire and are encouraged to upload

launch of Brinkley’s Dear Cannes digital DESPITE the paradigm shift, the screening, there will be a filmmaker their own videos in response to the

social-media campaign, encouraging the organisation will present diversity Q&A, as well as a roundtable to discuss realisation that there’s only been one

Festival to dismantle the patriarchy. It programming for two days. May 23, black women in film. The celebration black woman selected in competition at

continues with a series of short-film 12.00-20.00 at Hotel Gray D’Albion, the Cannes Film Festival in its 75 years.

screenings, panel discussions and cocktail marks the return of Diversity Day, Hashtags #dearcannes and

receptions. To culminate, Diversity in consisting of a short-film showcase, a #diversityincannes should be used when

Cannes, will devote Wednesday, May 25, cocktail reception, filmmaker roundtable posting. “At a time when worldwide

to the celebration of black women in and the France premiere of BabyGirl, a representation of women, people of

film. “We are a proud sponsor of Yolonda thought-provoking short film exploring colour and other marginalised groups,

Brinkley and the Diversity in Cannes Short human sex trafficking in the black in film, is disproportionate to the

Film Showcase, as she continues her community, directed by Don B. Welch. general market, I am committed to the

work of over a decade, creating an “We are looking forward to having our fight for diversity and inclusion, by any

international platform for under- film BabyGirl spotlighted at the 2022 means necessary, at the Cannes Film

represented filmmakers, where artists can Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase. Festival; especially since, after 75 years,

be celebrated and seen. Congratulations What an honour!” said Welch. diversity is still not a priority,” Brinkley

to all the creators in this year’s Expanding the inclusion efforts to the Actor Chris Tucker (right) and son Destin © DR said.✦
showcase,” said Julius Tennon and Viola Palais des Festivals and International with Diversity in Cannes founder Yolanda Brinkley
Liza Foreman

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