Stories of cutting-edge production facilities, generous tax incentives, and lavish film festivals often dominate perceptions of film and digital media on the Arabian Peninsula, but there is a much longer and more complicated history that connects it with the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean.
In Reorienting the Middle East, contributors consider oil companies that brought film to this area in the 1930s and '40s, the first Indian film produced on the Arabian Peninsula in the late 1970s, Blackness in Iranian films, the role of Western funding in reshaping stories, Dubai's emergence in global film production, uses of online platforms for performance art, the evolution of film festivals and cinemas, and short citizen-made films that critique racism and sexism perpetrated against migrants from Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Just as the Gulf is a fluid space where film and digital media reflect long-standing connections among the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, Reorienting the Middle East offers a way to analyze the oft-forgotten spaces between regions and disciplines and challenges the definition of film in the Middle East.
About the Author
Dale Hudson is Associate Professor of Film and New Media at New York University Abu Dhabi. He is author of Vampires, Race, and Transnational Hollywoods and (with Patricia R. Zimmermann) of Thinking Through Digital Media: Transnational Environments and Locative Places. Alia Yunis is Visiting Associate Professor of Film and Heritage Studies at New York University Abu Dhabi. She is author of The Night Counter: A Novel and cofounder of the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival. Her feature documentary, The Golden Harvest (2019), debuted at Thessaloniki International Film Festival and won Best of Fest at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.