In Conversation with OPPO Brand Ambassador and the UAE’s First Female Film Writer, Director and Producer, Nayla Al Khaja

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  • To celebrate Emirati Women’s Day OPPO joins the first Emirati female film writer, director, and producer, Nayla Al Khaja, as she shares her inspirations, advice, and passion for the industry
  • The global technology brand is committed to enriching the lives of the entire UAE community through cutting edge innovation, research, and development
Nayla Al Khaja

Dubai, UAE: As a global technology brand, OPPO is committed to empowering female business leaders both in the UAE and across the globe. OPPO is dedicated to supporting and encouraging women to be a driving force for change and share their fresh perspectives with the world. 

This Emirati Women’s Day, OPPO celebrates by shining a spotlight on acclaimed Emirati film writer, director, and producer Nayla Al Khaja. The CEO of Nayla Al Khaja Films, a Dubai-based company previously named D-Seven Motion Pictures, and the founder of The Scene Club, Dubai’s first film club, launched in 2007, her films have participated in more than 42 festivals worldwide.

In the United Arab Emirates Nayla has written and directed several films, all of which have been presented and awarded at various international film festivals such as Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). 

As an experienced film director, Nayla Al Khaja understands what is needed to create the perfect shot. As a brand fan and ambassador, the partnership between OPPO and Nayla was conceived from a shared passion for state-of-the-art camera technology available for all to experience and enjoy.

Join us as we learn more about Nayla’s passion, inspirations, and words of advice for budding film industry enthusiasts. 

What inspired you to be a film director and producer? 

I had a small gallery here in Dubai before I got into film. I always thought I was gonna be a full-time painter, but motion pictures inspired me from a young age.

 As a child, I would watch VHS tapes back-to-back for hours. Of course, I was only allowed to watch certain genres as a child but, when I was seven or eight, I accidentally watched ‘The Exorcist’ and it truly scared me. A feeling that I still remember today. 

When I was in school, I began experimenting with an 8-millimetre camera and by the time I was 19, I had already made my first documentary. After that, it felt only nature that I fell in love with the process of filmmaking. Why filmmaking? Because the process easily spoke to me as I thrive on chaos, madness and unpredictability, and filmmaking had all these components. Being a producer came naturally as did moving into a director role as I had to be in control of my narrative and be true to what I wanted to direct.

What does it mean to you to be an Emirati woman in the industry?

When I lived in Toronto, I was a little fish in this huge ocean. Whereas here, in the UAE, I could be a whale in an aquarium, so to speak. Both experiences came with their own unique benefits and challenges, but I have a better chance to leave my mark and impact in the UAE as one of my primary goals is to inspire young Arabs in the region. I’m just one of the lucky ones where although there are parts of my career that I hate, I would say I love 90% of it, which is a great percentage. It’s fulfilling for me to wake up every day and do what I love doing, which is telling stories. So, I’m very blessed that way.

At what age did you first own a camera? Do you remember your first shot?

Wow, this was a long time ago! I think I was around 12 years old when I owned my first camera. The first shot I took was for a project called cliché where I filmed mundane scenes about life that didn’t mean much individually, but collectively they told a story. For example, one of the scenes I captured was of a man trying to reach up and grab a certain brand of diapers from a supermarket shelf, but he couldn’t reach it even though he was on his toes.

What advice would you given aspiring Emirati females who are looking to join the film industry? 

If you’re a woman with a passion for making quality movies and television shows, there’s no better time to get involved than the present. Despite the challenges women in the entertainment industry have faced, it is completely possible to have a successful, rewarding career in producing and filmmaking. My advice is to be fearless and a force that empowers other women around the world. 

For budding directors and producers creating content on their phones, what practical tips can you give to improve their photography and videography?

Go out and explore every horizon that comes your way. No shot is considered a bad shot, creativity lies in the eyes of the beholder. Shooting more will give you more confidence and experience as well as giving you the knowledge to rectify previous mistakes. Don’t be afraid to get out there and shoot anything: there is always a story and there’s always success in failure Take inspiration from renowned directors and photographers making sure you follow and study their work.

As a fan of the brand, how would you describe OPPO? What excites you about the brand? 

OPPO is one of the leading innovators when it comes to smartphones. When considering what smartphone to purchase it comes down to the feature and camera abilities. OPPO has managed to stand out from other brands when it comes to its camera abilities. What excites me about OPPO is their photo quality thanks to the hybrid 10x zoom capability. This capability helps me to zoom into pictures without losing any quality while I am working when I’m visualizing a particular shot. The fast charging is also a game changer as it helps me to be more mobile than simply waiting idle for my phone to charge.

About OPPO:

OPPO is a leading global technology brand since 2004, dedicated to providing products that seamlessly combines art and innovative technology.

OPPO is on a mission to building a multiple-access smart device ecosystem for the era of intelligent connectivity. The smartphone devices have simply been a gateway for OPPO to deliver a diverse portfolio of smart and frontier technologies in hardware, software and system. In 2019, OPPO launched a $7 Billion US Dollar three-year investment plan in R&D to develop core technologies furthering design through technology.

OPPO is firmly pursuing the creation of the best technology products and technological artistry for global users. Based on the brand elements of leading, young and beautiful, OPPO dedicates to the mission of letting the extraordinary users enjoy the beauty of technology.

For the last 10 years, OPPO has focused on manufacturing smartphones with camera capabilities that are second to none. OPPO launched the first mobile phone, the Smile Phone, in 2008, which marked the launch of the brand’s epic journey in exploring and pioneering extraordinary technology. Over the years, OPPO has built a tradition of being number one, which became a reality through inventing the world’s first rotating camera smartphone way back in 2013, launching the world’s then thinnest smartphone in 2014, being the first to introduce 5X Zoom ‘Periscope’ camera technology and developing the first 5G commercial smartphone in Europe.

Today, OPPO was ranked as the number four smartphone brand globally. OPPO brings the aesthetics of technology of global consumers through the ColorOS system Experience, and Internet service like OPPO Cloud and OPPO+.

OPPO’s business covers 40 countries with over six research institutes and five R&D centers across the world, from San Francisco to Shenzhen. OPPO also opened an International Design Centre headquartered in London, driving cutting edge technology that will shape the future not only for smartphones but for intelligent connectivity.

About OPPO MEA:

OPPO started its journey in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region in 2015 after setting up its regional office in Egypt. Following the immense success of the brand’s sales centre in Cairo in the first year, OPPO accelerated its expansion plan across the MEA region and inaugurated its country operations in the UAE in 2019. Now OPPO is physically present in more than 13 markets across the region, including Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the Levant.

To empower its presence in the region in line with its product localisation strategy, OPPO further invested in MENA and set up its very own factory in Algeria in 2017, thus, becoming the first Chinese brand to build a manufacturing premises in North Africa. Based on insights of local consumers in each country, OPPO has evolved the progress of product localisation, taking into consideration several perspectives towards each market, including product localisation, to further meet the core needs of users; marketing localisation, to better communicate with local young customers; and talent localisation, to understand local consumers further and provide an optimum customer service.

Within the last year, OPPO has started to adjust its product line in the Middle East region specifically. This has included the launch of its flagship OPPO Find X Series and the introduction of the OPPO Reno Series. OPPO will continue to evolve its local product line to offer more premium series to consumers in the region.

A forward-thinking international technology company, OPPO strives to be a sustainable company that contributes to a better world and have enacted positive change in every way possible through activating local community initiatives and humanitarian, charity campaigns.