When you think of the United Arab Emirates, the film industry might not immediately spring to mind. But if director and entrepreneur Mustafa Abbas has anything to say about it, things won’t stay that way for long.
The Emirati director has earned himself a reputation as a pioneer in the country’s burgeoning film industry, with his movie, Sunset State, having premiered at the Dubai Film Festival and touring internationally.
Safe to say he takes risks, then. Breaks new ground, if you will. It’s why we shot him in the new Cullinan Black Badge, which is now available at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars AGMC.
The final member of Rolls-Royce’s Black Badge family, the Cullinan is the marque’s interpretation of an SUV. Designed to take Rolls-Royce’s reputation for unmatched luxury and interpret that for younger, more adventurous clients, the Cullinan is the darkest, most urban statement from the team at Goodwood to date. Consider it the car Rolls-Royce built for their younger, more dynamic customers. So step forward, Mustafa Abbas.
What sparked your interest in filmmaking?
I was always fascinated by the unfolding of a story and watching it as a visual medium. It was always like getting to the bottom of the truth, for better or for worse. Personally, I often compare movies with people. The more you watch them the more you know. The more you pay attention, the deeper you get. And some films are deeper than others.
What can you tell us about your latest project, The Long Game?
The Long Game in many ways is about karma, and paradoxical situations. It's a psychological revenge thriller about a former criminal whose road to redemption is shattered, and then he is forced back into his old ways, but naturally, it’s not that black and white.
Thinking about movies with classic driving sequences like Bullit or The Bourne Identity: how would you shoot a car like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan?
The beauty of Rolls-Royce is that the story behind it is extremely deep. As a brand, it has totally redefined the idea and the meaning of having a story. Not only because of its history and the attention to detail, but also the love that it puts into everything it manufactures, the creativity and the personal touches. And because of this, the Cullinan would no doubt be an amazing character in a film. It’s visually stunning and has so much personality and charisma.
Has the evolution of Netflix and streaming services changed the way you approach filmmaking?
I’m a doer, and don’t like things to linger on. That doesn’t mean I like to rush. I’m just very decisive, and those who know me and work with me trust my process. Netflix has made things more accessible and faster, so I love that. However, it hasn’t changed the way I make films or tell a story. I believe an artist of any kind should stick to their vision. The method, however, can be flexible.