Abu Dhabi film company Image Nation gave a sneak peak of Emirati director Ali Mostafa’s upcoming feature The Worthy, set in a dystopian future in chaos following a chronic water shortage, at DIFF on Sunday. 

“I think it’s safe to describe it as the Arab world’s first post-apocalyptic feature,” said Mostafa [pictured] who was joined at a news conference by Image Nation’s head of narrative Ben Ross and producer Rami Yasin.

A short trailer showed a fast-paced high-octane work set in a derelict world reduced to rubble in which everyone has to fight for survival.

It is Mostafa’s third film after his breakthrough title City Of Life and pan-Arab road movie From A To B. The director said the decision to shoot an action thriller was in keeping with his long-term aim to shoot a variety of genres.

“As a filmmaker, it’s always been important to me to be as diverse as possible in terms of styles, in everything that I’ve done. When I first started shooting commercials, I was only selected for Emirati or Ramadan-themed works. Early on I decided I didn’t want to be typecast.”

Image Nation’s Ross explained the project had first been developed by US producers Peter Safran (Annabelle) and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity, The Visit). Both are on board the film.

“I read the script four years ago when I was still in the US. For one reason or another it never came together and when I was casting around for new projects for Image Nation, I got in contact with them to see whether we could make it here,” said Ross.

Mostafa and Yasin oversaw the “arabisation” of the screenplay.

“It wasn’t that difficult unfortunately given what is going on in this part of the world,” said Mostafa. “We wanted to base it a lot more on what could happen if it all went wrong. It’s about survival and what a human being is capable of doing when it comes to trying to survive.”

The film, which was shot on location in dilapidated buildings in Romania over the summer, is currently in post-production and is due to hit screens some time next year. 

In a bid to build buzz on the film, the trailer shown at DIFF is screening ahead of Emirati Majid Al Ansari’s thriller Zinzana which opened in the UAE this week.