Ali F. Mostafa is a pioneer of the Emirati film scene. He made City of Life, the first feature in the UAE to be distributed throughout the MENA region and his film has traveled the world, in the process showing an insider's glimpse into the complex, multinational and well-balanced culture of Dubai.
His latest film A to B promises to be a wonderfully international co-production featuring some of the best talent the filmmaking world has to offer.
At this year's Dubai International Film Festival, Mostafa's work can be seen in a short titled Don't Judge A Subject by Its Photograph, part of the trio that make up the "Soul of Dubai" films commissioned by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. To say that Mostafa is one of the brightest stars in the cinema firmament of the region would be an understatement.
I wanted to show a glimpse into the funny, charming, down-to-earth Ali Mostafa that his friends know and love, behind all the glitz and glamour of his image. So I sat down with him inside the bustling Dubai Film Market and asked him a quick round of questions, a "Portrait Chinois" of sorts. It was an idea that reaped some amazing results.
Your favorite virtue: Humility.
The quality you prefer in a man: Straightforwardness.
The quality you prefer in a woman: Patience.
What do you appreciate most in your friends: Trust.
A favorite motto: Pride kills a man.
Your favorite curse: When you said that, I was going to say "S**t, what is it?"
Your main fault: I have ADD I guess, focus really is my fault. Like the whole ADD thing, but not in the great scheme of things.
Your favorite activity: Spending time with my kids, things change once you have kids.
What you love most about Dubai: It has taught us to dream big.
If you could live anywhere in the world what city would you choose: London, it's a second home for me. If I'd live anywhere else, it would be London.
Your favorite filmmaker: That's really tough, just one. Many, I'm a fan of David Fincher, Sam Mendes, several really...
A film you go back to, again and again: You know what's funny, it's very strange but there is this one film that regardless of where it starts, like if I'm changing channels and it's on, it's been a habit. It's not something I would recommend to people, just a film I would sit and watch. It's Legends of the Falls. I guess it was the time when I first saw it, what I was feeling then. Every time it comes on, I have to sit through it.
If you could be any character on the big screen: Although my dream would be to direct that film once, it would be James Bond.
Your real life hero: My mother.
Playing on your iPod right now: It's the new album by The Narcicyst, he just released it and it's fantastic and I did a music film for it, which is supposed to come out sometime next year and that's one to watch. It's like a short version of "Moonwalker" but for him.
Image courtesy of MAD Solutions, used with permission