Nayla Al Khaja

CEO & Creative Storyteller

Nayla Al Khaja

Topics range from:
● The power of Storytelling
● How you see Vs. What you know – Perception… and everything in between
● Breaking barriers and facing your own fears
● Women Empowerment
● Gender Balance in male dominated fields
● Film financing and cinema economy
● The power of film scenes and how they impact our lives
● The psychology of selfies in the age of speed.

Nayla Al Khaja is the first female Film Producer and Film Director in the United Arab Emirates. Her true-life story inspires audiences everywhere; she uses humor and storytelling techniques to grab the attention of a crowd. She always gets a mid-way ovation in the middle of her talks. A successful business woman, she is the CEO of her own production company, Nayla Al Khaja Films (previously D-Seven Motion Pictures), and she founded in 2007 The Scene Club, Dubai’s first independent film club, which now counts over 22,000 registered members. Over the years, Nayla’s passion for Entrepreneurship, her advocacy for Women Empowerment, and her dedication to develop the UAE’s film industry, helped her reputation of respected entrepreneur and thought leader grow. Today, she is a reference in the Middle East and keeps supporting and mentoring local talents.

Nayla Al Khaja speaks fluently in Arabic and English and her topics range from Women Empowerment in the Middle East, to Female Entrepreneurship, Creativity at work, Perceptions and Ideologies, Women and Cinema, Film Financing and Cinema Economy. Her knowledge of the Khaleeji Culture is an asset to talk about topics matching the changes in the Middle Eastern societies and communities. She has tackled taboo topics, such as breaking down the Arab Woman stereotype, how to stand-out in a male dominated industry, or the crux of gender balance moving forward and its implications. She can discuss how to combat fear and chase one’s dreams, based on her extraordinary true-life story being the first female filmmaker in the UAE. As an artist, she also likes creative topics related to storytelling, or content creation.

Al Khaja’s accolades include being ranked among the Top 50 most powerful personalities in Arab Cinema, and 100 most powerful Arabs under 40 by Arabian Business Magazine. She’s also been awarded the Visionary of the Year Award at the Arabian Business Awards, and she is Brand Ambassador for Canon Middle East since 2011. She was recently declared Entrepreneur of the Year during the Gulf Business Awards 2017.

Al Khaja wrote and directed several films, all presented and awarded in international film festivals. In 2006, she was awarded the title of Best Emirati Filmmaker during the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). She then shot three short films: Once (2009), Malal (2010) and The Neighbor (2013). Malal received the Muhr Emirati Award at DIFF 2010 and The Neighbor was awarded Best Emirati Film at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival. In 2016, she shot the pilot of her first feature film, Animal, nominated for the Muhr Emirati Awards at DIFF 2016. The short film received the Jury’s Special Prize for Best Short Fiction at the Italian Movie Award in Pompeii, Italy, in September 2017, and the Jury Award in the Narrative Film Category at the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival in February 2018. She is currently developing her first feature film, Animal.

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