‘We are a country of connections’

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: “We are a country of connections,” says Nahla Al Fahad, who made the UAE National Anthem video for Expo 2020 Dubai. “At Expo 2020, we decided that this year, we should create a unique version of the national anthem using musicians from all over the world.”

An accomplished director and executive producer of films, she is a recipient of many local, regional and international awards.

Making the Expo 2020 video, says Nahla, was a rewarding experience, but also challenging.”Especially considering the short time-line we had.”

All the hard work and creativity was towards a larger aim: to have the stirring harmony of the Ishy Biladi, the UAE’s national anthem, reach out to the world.

“People will relate to it because they will see someone of their nationality play a traditional instrument of their country [for a rendition of the UAE’s anthem],” says Nahla.

This sense of familiarity, she says, creates avenues to understand another culture.

“I believe that the moment we hear a familiar instrument within a track, we start to relate to it. For example, I have recently discovered the distinctive sounds of the oud incorporated into a number of new pieces of international music; I immediately felt a connection to the song. This is the main concept behind the video – connecting people through the universality of music,” she says.

She believes the video will make a place for itself for posterity.

“I think this video will stand the test the time as people all over the world will connect with it. The idea is also one on which we can build upon in the future and create a continuation of the video concept for the 49th UAE National Day, which will fall during Expo 2020,” says Nahla.

The UAE segment with children singing the national anthem creates an “inter-generational connection” with the other strands in the video, she says. “It also corresponds to one of the main objectives of the UAE which is to empower the younger generation and inspire them to continue the country’s great progress.”

The project fulfilled her emotional need to do something for the UAE. “Creating something for the UAE National Day every year is a must for me, as I want to be part of what is happening. As a filmmaker, the way I can do this is through the camera [and] I am so very happy with the result.”

She takes immense pride in the UAE’s achievements. “Look at us – we are a young country and we have achieved so much in 48 years – we even had the first Emirati in space this year! What’s more, we are hosting Expo 2020; next year, the UAE is where everyone will be coming, from all over the world, to celebrate, innovate, learn and exchange ideas ... and that makes me so proud.”

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