UAE actors can make it in Hollywood: coach
Dubai, December 7, 2011
Miranda Davidson, an American acting coach based in the UAE, said some of the young Emirati actors she trained in the recent locally-produced movie "Sea Shadow" have the potential to make it in Hollywood.
The owner of Miranda Davidson Studios in Dubai, who has been training and coaching local actors for over two years, used various acting techniques and a translator to prepare the local actors for their roles, helping the lead actors earn some early critical acclaim for their performances.
Sea Shadow tells the story of two teenagers growing up in Ras Al Khaimah and explores relationships, family and the clash between old and new on a shared journey of self-discovery. “The director specifically wanted me to open up their hearts,” said Davidson. “I used a sense memory technique and what I call visual meditation for this process, where I took the actors through an imaginary journey of love and loss.
“The more productions local actors get to work on the better they’ll become and I believe the skill set is well on its way to us seeing more speaking roles in Hollywood productions,” she said.
“Sea Shadow is the first Emirati film to receive international distribution, so it’s a big step for UAE cinema. We need to make movies that can turn profits and Sea Shadow has proven we can do that,” Davidson added.
“The idea was to create an open emotional palate that would form a deeper bond between the two main characters who are playing best friends. My biggest fear wasn’t of pushing them too hard but not pushing them far enough,” she explained.
Sea Shadow director, Nawaf Al-Janahi, said: “Miranda was able to impart certain techniques that helped better translate my directing notes into the performances and push to quickly develop the skills required.”
“It was a daring step to cast all UAE-based actors, taking virtual unknowns and using them to push the boundaries of local film making. For instance Mansoor, played by Omar Al Mulla, depicted his toying with sexual desire, a subject not talked about much in this region so it was brave on his and the producers’ part,” Davidson added.
She trained in Los Angeles at the Edgemar Center for the Arts, Ivanna Chubuck Studios and Lisa Robertson Studios, all of which are among the best acting schools in the US.
Davidson started teaching in Dubai under the guidance and encouragement of one of her mentors, Michelle Danner, and now three of her students recently booked roles on a new TV show being shot by MBC called Sharaan Shakeer.
Ms Davidson has also trained the actor who played the perfume seller in Sea Shadow prior to the movie; the cast of The 48 Hour Project and other actors in various film projects, including over 40 short movies.
“It's hard to compare talent between here and the US because the UAE industry here is so young and therefore the bar is set much lower. However, the standard is rising and this is largely due to the dedication and drive of the students - the potential is there, it's a matter of honing it,” she said.
Davidson has 25 years of experience as a teacher, actor, producer and filmmaker. Her continuing acting workshops have formed the basis of the Acting Studio in Dubai.
Her next venture will see her work as the acting coach for A Genie Called Gin by Jac Mulder, which is one of six short films being funded by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission. – TradeArabia News Service
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