Dubbed as UAE’s first female filmmaker, Nayla Al Khaja was thrust into the limelight and garnered critical acclaim for her documentary “Unveiling Dubai” in 2005. It premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival and was launched by H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Higher Education in the UAE. She had the honor of receiving the ‘Emirates Woman of the Year’ and ‘The Youngest Entrepreneur’ of the year at the ‘Global Businesswomen & Leader’s Summit Awards’ in 2005. Being the first UAE national woman to embark on such a career, she received media attention and accolades from as far away as the Washington Post NHK and the BBC World.

Nayla graduated from Dubai Women’s College with a degree in Mass Communication in 1999 and had a stint with Arabian Radio Network where she hosted her own travel show. She later applied to Ryerson University in Canada, well known for its Film making program and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Image studies – Film. She later founded her production company ‘D-Seven motion pictures’ that same year, a full service production company specializing in the production of short films, documentaries, TV Commercials and corporate videos. The company quickly grew and added industry giants such as Mercedes, BMW, Vogue, Nike, Nivea, Gucci, Canon and LG to its growing list of clientele.

Nayla Al Khaja is a proud ambassador of Canon Middle East, a global leader in digital imaging products. She won ‘Local Artist of the Year’ by ‘Emirates Woman Magazine’ and ‘Visionary of the Year’ at the ‘Arabian Business Awards’. She was also announced among the top ‘50 most powerful personalities in Arab cinema’ and mentioned in the ‘100 most powerful Arabs under 40’ list by the ‘Arabian Business’ magazine in 2015.



Yan Vogel is an accomplished director and cinematographer. In 1995, he started to study cultural and communication studies. He was always passionate about films and later decided to focus on filmmaking instead. Yan did his first job as an intern for a production company. Until 1997, he studied and worked on different commercial/music video productions and also a feature film.

In 1997 Yan started film studies as a cinematographer at A.F.I. in Los Angeles. He dropped out of the 2-year program after 1 year and used his tuition money instead to shoot a short film and various spec commercials with two friends to build a show reel.

Since 2002, Yan has been directing and photographing commercials worldwide with his partner Rene Villar Rios. He was always more interested in cinematography and since has been working as a cinematographer worldwide for commercials, documentaries and short films.

Yan is passionate about cinematography because he likes to “capture the magic of life”. He feels that film is the strongest medium and the best way to reach an audience. Yan loves to create a reality with pictures that takes the viewer into another world and helps them see things in a whole new perspective.



Sebastian was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. He studied Law in Berlin, Germany and Filmmaking in New York. After doing NGO work in Beirut, Lebanon in 2005, Sebastian went back to filmmaking and producing. He has written, directed and produced several Music-Videos, Documentaries, TV-Commercials and Short-Films. Sebastian has filmed all over the world from Beirut to Sierra Leone, West-Africa.

Sebastian was recently awarded at the renowned Art Directors Club in Germany and Europe as one of the best TV-commercial directors, and was shortlisted at the Cannes Festival. Additionally he has written a feature film which has been optioned by a production company in Germany.

For Sebastian the most important thing in Filmmaking is honesty: “Honesty towards your audience, towards your story and towards your visual approach.”