Sager Al Nuaimi

Sager Al Nuaimi, born in 1993 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, is an emerging filmmaker currently pursuing his master's in filmmaking at ArtCenter College of Design in Los Angeles. His passion for cinema began in his childhood, fascinated by Hollywood's portrayal of the world beyond his small desert town. He started shooting his own films with his home video camera at the age of 12. Sager holds a Bachelor of storytelling from the American University in Dubai. His university senior project, an Emirati period fantasy short film, was nominated at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and the Cannes Short Film Festival in 2016. Drawing on his Emirati Middle Eastern background, rich in oral storytelling, Sager aspires to create imaginative films inspired by all cultures and time periods that reflect universal themes and resonate with audiences worldwide.

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
"A Work of Heart" is a short period drama set in Renaissance Italy. It tells the story of a talented painter who becomes captivated by a merchant's wife while painting her necklace. Their forbidden connection ignites a creative spark, resulting in a masterpiece that transcends traditional art—the Mona Lisa.


What are your ambitions with your project?

As a master's student in film in Los Angeles, I created "A Work of Heart" as an assignment for my directing class. This film is a fictional exploration of real historical events, showcasing my passion for art. It reveals the untold story behind the Mona Lisa, aiming to entertain and give voice to the hidden figures who contributed to its creation. I hope it reaches a wide audience.

Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
Despite facing several challenges, especially with the tight production schedule, I completed the project on time. The most rewarding aspect was the enthusiasm and dedication of my crew, who shared my excitement for bringing this production to life.


For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
"A Work of Heart" is crafted to be accessible to a broad audience, but it will particularly resonate with art and history enthusiasts.

Why should distributors buy your film?
My film captures a pivotal historical moment that reshaped our perception of art in an engaging way. I believe audiences will be intrigued by the backstory of one of the most famous artworks ever created.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
My work is inspired by real-life events and characters, but I present these stories in a grounded yet magical and stylized manner.

Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
As a child, I struggled to express my creativity with words. Receiving my first home camera changed my life, allowing me to effortlessly channel my creativity through filmmaking. Movies shaped my upbringing, providing a magical escape from everyday life, and I aspire to create similar escapes for others.

Who is your role model?
My role model is my father. Though not a filmmaker, he has always believed in me and taught me to be a good leader and make thoughtful decisions while treating people with kindness—qualities essential for any director.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
I admire films by Robert Eggers and Guillermo del Toro because they create realistic characters we can emotionally connect with, set in fantastical, beautifully designed worlds. I appreciate movies that balance story and aesthetics, where each element serves the other.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
I draw inspiration from daily life, personal interactions, past memories, and events. Additionally, I find inspiration in movie scenes or dialogues that I wish had been further elaborated upon.

Which topics interest you the most?
I am particularly interested in art, history, and theology, and I strive to incorporate themes from these areas into my films.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
I am proud of both my successes and failures. My greatest achievement is my continued pursuit of a filmmaking career despite the significant challenges and competition in the field.

What do you consider most important about filming?
The most important aspect of filming is to convey ideas that resonate with viewers, evoke empathy, immerse them in the characters' experiences, and inspire hope and gratitude.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
The best technique depends on the story's needs. I appreciate long takes that draw viewers into the world but also value elegant camera movements that enhance the storytelling.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
While the trend of prequels and sequels can be disheartening due to the lack of originality, I am optimistic about the exciting original content being produced by companies like A24.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
It is disappointing to see films with large budgets and heavy CGI or VFX work that suffer from significant story flaws.

Who supports you in your film career?
I am grateful for my supportive family, especially in a place where filmmaking is not a common career path.

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
I have received positive feedback, with many appreciating the effort and challenges we faced as students. Everyone seemed to take something meaningful from the film.

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Yes, I have been fortunate to attend the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, as well as several festivals in Los Angeles and my home country, the UAE.

What are your future plans in your filmmaking career?
My future plans include making my first feature film and fully immersing myself in the art and industry of filmmaking.