The city of Dubai is often associated with an image of Islamic traditions and rich Arabic culture. The lifestyle, architecture, cuisine, and history of the town continue to have a very prominent global influence. Owing to globalization, visitors can now witness a fusion culture of East and West. However, the city retains its traditional cultural core. This diversity in the modern cityscape, infused with Arabic culture and history, makes Dubai an interesting frame for any filmmaker to capture. Choosing the right location is paramount for filmmakers who attempt to capture the authentic heritage of the city.
Here is a list of the top 5 cultural hotspots that we believe would best incorporate elements of Emirati culture in your frame -
Al Safa Art & Design District
One of the city's cultural landmarks, Al Safa Art & Design District is a hidden literature getaway. It is a hub for designers and artists, housing 62,500 books, as well as contemporary and traditional paintings and photographs from local and international artists. This place's diversity allows filmmakers to experiment with their shots and add their perspectives to this culture hotspot. The art installations around the district, along with cozy cafes and artisan shops, create a beautiful blend of modern and traditional backdrops for every frame. While the place feels like a perfect getaway for creatives, it is located right in the heart of the city, on Jumeirah Road, less than 20 minutes from the airport. The accessibility and aesthetics of the district make the location a popular choice among filmmakers for diverse projects.
If nature had a green screen, it'd look just like the Hatta. An inland exclave in Dubai surrounded by Hajar mountains, Hatta is a scenic haven. The location has a diverse touch of nature, perfect for romantic, adventure, exploration, and action sequences. The beautiful contrast of brown rugged mountains with clear teal blue waters makes it an excellent backdrop for creative photoshoots. The venue is just 90 minutes from the city, making it accessible yet secluded, fostering better productivity, and saving the production team the hassle of managing a crowd of spectators. Unlike scorching deserts, Hatta has pleasant weather during the cooler months, which comes in handy for filmmakers to capture the rich Emirati culture and heritage of the region and incorporate it into diverse film narratives.
The Souks of Dubai
If you are a filmmaker looking for colors of culture for your frame, souks offer you a kaleidoscope. Souks are the traditional markets of the UAE with intrinsic craftsmanship spread across acres of land. From the production standpoint, the location is economical to shoot, easily accessible from the Dubai airport, and well connected to the city streets. Presently, these markets host 380 retailers in unique souvenirs with Middle-Eastern charm. There is a wide variety of souks trading in everyday to luxury goods - dazzling jewelry at gold souks, aromatic, robust spices at the spice souk, and a variety of fine fabrics at the textile souk, among many others. The diversity and bustle of Dubai's souks, along with traditional architecture in the backdrop, allows the filmmaker to capture the cultural authenticity in his film project.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Al Fahidi, also known as Al Bastakiya, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Dubai, UAE. Its historical significance makes the location globally recognized and a year-round choice for filmmakers. Being close to the heart of the metropolitan provides the production crew easy accessibility to the site and nearby amenities. In terms of the filming potential, Al Fahidi has tremendous potential. Intrinsic Arabic Architecture, narrow lanes, age-old art galleries and museums, and beautiful courtyards are perfect for a period film. The cultural diversity also makes it an ideal location for a range of commercials and other modern-day film projects. The picturesque location comes with a unique opportunity to collaborate with local artists and get an Emarati perspective on your project. The background of the neighborhood has Dubai's modern skyline, which creates a fascinating contrast for your project's backdrop - a must-have for many filmmakers.
A list of cultural centers of the city cannot be complete without its heritage capital - The Mosques of Dubai. Known for its jaw-dropping architecture, there is no better location that encapsulates the Middle-Eastern culture. One of the most famous mosques in the list is Jumeirah Masjid. Built in the traditional Fatimid style, originating from Syria and Egypt, Jumeirah Masjid is one of the few mosques allowing non-Muslims to enter under the principle of 'Open Doors. Open Minds.' Filmmakers can find diverse people from different cultural backgrounds in one scenic shot. Domes, minarets, and the entire structure of the mosque are built in stunning white stone, making every frame captured by the cinematographer tranquil. The easy crew accessibility, location's significance, and architectural beauty make Jumeirah Masjid a point of convergence between serenity and cinematic brilliance.
Check out additionally: Interesting Facts about Dubai for Filmmakers
How crucial is it to secure a film permit?
For the filmmakers planning to film their next project in the UAE, it is essential to get legally ensured with film permits. Shooting for commercial campaigns without these permits is a punishable offense, resulting in hefty fines and confiscation of equipment, among other legal repercussions. Dubai is one of the leading cultural capitals in the world, which is why these laws get all the more stringent for the cultural hotspots above. Since locations like the souks and hatta have commercial value, acquiring a film permit for them is much easier than religious venues like the Jumeirah Masjid. Such venues require special permits from the government along with an acknowledgment to comply with the customs and religious protocols of the location. Even for historical locations, like the Al Fahidi neighbourhood, the filmmakers must understand the filming restrictions of the locations before planning their shoot.
Depending on the nature of the project, producers can choose from two categories of permits: temporary, valid for a day, and permanent, extending up to a maximum of 90 days. These permits ensure that you are legally secure and enjoy the perks of government and local assistance in efficiently producing your film project.
Here are the three simple steps to secure your film permit -
With just three simple steps, you'll be well on your way to securing your permit:
- Register on our website and create your profile, securing personalized assistance for your shoot.
- Complete the online application form, providing all the necessary project details, including details about your script.
- Make the required fee payment online, and your permit will be granted within five working days.
How does the UAE Film Permit help?
Obtaining all the necessary licenses and permits for the length of your project can be an overwhelming process with a list of technicalities. This is why we advise you to hire a team with experience in obtaining permits, understanding regulations, and scouring for perfect film locations so you can focus on the creatives instead of the logistics of filming.
UAEFilmPermit provides extensive assistance in these logistics, guiding you at every step of this intricate process. Besides helping plan your paperwork and fast-tracking the permit process, we help you connect with locals for efficiency and support during filming. Connect with us today to know more and enjoy seamless production and a remarkable filming experience in Dubai.