Ali F. Mostafa

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Ali F. Mostafa
Born (1981-09-25) September 25, 1981 (age 33)
London, England

Ali F. Mostafa (born Ali Faisal Mostafa Bin Abdullatif on 25 September 1981) is a British-Emirati filmmaker, director and producer who is credited as the director of the first Emirati feature-film City of Life. Born in 1981, Mostafa received wide acclaim for his debut in filmmaking; he has been branded as "Best Emirati Filmmaker" in the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF)[1] and won the 'Young Filmmaker of the Year' award at the Digital Studio Awards 2010.

According to Mostafa, the inspiration for producing City of Life came because “I was tired of people comparing Dubai to a Disneyland. Most of them take one look at the glitzy buildings and assume it’s an artificial place. My film has none of that. It has real people with real problems. Like any other city in the world, my film shows both the positives and the negatives."[1] Mostafa faced initial controversy when a couple cinemas refused to showcase his movie who they claimed portrayed Dubai in a negative light. He however squashed the rumours, saying that with his film, he hoped to change the global perception of his hometown and put it on par with cities such as London and New York which also face "real problems."[1][2] According to data produced by Italia Film International the movie ranked second in the local box office and successfully made over 500,000 dirhams in its first weekend; there were reports that makers were deciding to show the film at the Cannes Film Festival later in the year of 2010.[3]

Mostafa has also directed a number of short movies; his 2005 film "Under the Sun" was screened at the DIFF and won the Emirates Film Competition in 2006. It was also screened at the Rome, Rhode Island and San Francisco International Film Festivals.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Mostafa's father is Emirati while his mother is British; he was born in London, England. He was interested in filming since childhood and experimented making his own short films and mock TV ads. Upon completion of education, Ali established a division from an existing company focusing on set and interior design. He then pursued his goal in 2003 when he enrolled at the London Film School to obtain an M.A. for practical training in film technique. He has worked on short films and TV commercials in various areas of production, although his focus remains on directing.


  1. ^ a b c "City of Life” Captures the Spirit of Dubai". Celebuzz. 2009. 
  2. ^ Silvia Radan (25 September 2010). "We are moving in the right direction". Khaleej Times. 
  3. ^ Shance McGinley (30 April 2010). "City of Life' makes AED500,000 in opening weekend". Arabian Business. 
  4. ^ "Local Filmmaker Offers Inspiration For Kids". Dubai City Guide. 23 July 2007. 

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