Dazed Digital


Inside/Out: Muna Ismail

January 26, 2012

Following Hamdan Al Abri's new video shot in Dubai, Satellite Voices talks to the Dubai-based director on her debut project

  • Text by Kate Hazell

Canadian Muna Ismail moved to Dubai January 2007 to launch the first music and lifestyle channel in Dubai, MuchMusic Arabyeah for Takhayal Entertainment. Having previously worked on Canadian Idol beat reporter for E-Talk, the 30-year-old Yemeni/Somalilander shares her Dubai with Satellite Voices. Her debut project, directing Hamdan Al Abri's latest single "Falling", hits our screens.

Satellive Voices: What are the challenges of being a music director in Dubai?
Muna Ismail: When Hamdan’s manager, and long time friend of mine, Rebecca Brianceau approached me with the idea and asked me to produce and direct two videos, I was freaked out. I knew I had it in my heart, but sometimes we get a little scared to try something new. You see, I LOVE music. It’s such a huge part of my life. So when I heard the track "Falling" I instantly had this emotional connection with it. I really wanted to reflect that through the city both Hamdan and I live in. I worked with such an amazing team. Everything was smooth sailing from there. I guess now, we just want the millions of hits and have the recognition. Most importantly, we want people to fall in love with the track!

SV: What do you think of the local film scene? 
Muna Ismail: The scene here is booming and thriving! There are so many creative people who are thirsty to be heard and seen. This is a city where you find Iraqis, Emiratis, Filipinos, Lebanese, Canadians, Sudanese, Chinese all in one room working together and sharing their creative ideas! Within the last two years, festivals and art exhibitions are popping up everywhere. Slowly we are building an industry and I feel that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two cities that really want to support that.

SV: What inspires your work in Dubai?
Muna Ismail: This is such an interesting city with many layers. I guess the diversity of people I meet, the day-to-day life, music that I listen to, my family. I guess I think a lot and always have some ideas stirring up, although some may be a bit over the top!

SV: What creative cultures in Dubai would you recommend we check out?
Muna Ismail: Dubai’s arts and media hubs are slowly growing. For example there are galleries like Traffic Gallery, Carbon 1 and creative spaces like Pavilion Downtown Burj Khalifa and Shelter. And there are music venues like the Bur Dubai’s Music Room and Al Quoz’s Fridge, where you can hear artists perform. I would also highly recommend to check out the Abu Dhabi based online portal twofour54’s creative lab.

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