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The Scene Club is the UAE's first official film club, founded in 2007 by Nayla Al Khaja, an Emirati Director, Producer and CEO of film public relations company D-Seven Motion Pictures.
Since then the popularity of the club has grown exponentially and its strong following fills up the 360-seat auditorium at Knowledge Village Conference Centre easily — as it did when I visited last month to watch Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's creation Like Father, Like Son.
This has encouraged the organisers to screen not just one, but two films a month, meaning all those involved in the club have thrown their faith into it wholeheartedly and their weight behind it fully.
The concept is a great one. The Scene operates entirely for free. Membership is free, film tickets are free, popcorn is free and so are bottles of water. All the movie-going public has to do is register and reserve tickets online. This is all possible because of the goodwill of companies who sponsor the club and supply the refreshments.
The Scene Club was set up under the patronage of the Dubai International Film Festival, which means films screened do not undergo censorship, giving the club a strong sense of integrity.
It screens independent feature or short films with the aim of raising awareness of such productions within the country and provoking
discussions about them and issues they raise afterwards.
This is aided by a question-and-answer session after each screening with the film's director or producer, which the club's organisers also go to great efforts to arrange each month.
This is a truly unique experience in Dubai. It's refreshing to have found such a gem in the city that won't cost you a penny to follow devotedly. And it's great to see that despite there being no cost to film fans, the quality of the event never goes down.
Here the club's volunteers also deserve a mention. They are ordinary film lovers who give up an evening each month to ensure the smooth running of every event. And their efforts are immense. They ensure that the large throng of devotees gets to and from their seats in an organised and timely fashion and that no one is left without popcorn or water.
It is the passion that goes into the running of this club by everyone involved that will ensure my return for next month's screenings. Who knows: I may even volunteer to get involved.
Click Knowledge Village to learn more about the area.
Source: Melanie Smith, Subeditor