The documentary feature GLITTER DUST: FINDING ART IN DUBAI follows the city’s cultural capital. Three artists come to terms with truth and artificiality. Delightful hand-drawn animations interplay with live footage; art and life are truly intertwined. In turns funny and poignant, this documentary explores the artists behind the flash of Dubai.
The idea of a “drawcumentary” came from the doodles in Katy’s journal and a feeling that no realistic camera image could accurately capture the surrealism of the city. Combined with certain restrictions on filming in the UAE, animation could help tell the story. Free form, playful animation comments on the objective viewpoint of the film and visually disrupt the footage in order to emphasize the dislocation of the city’s migrant population.
The visual style of the film reflects the bewildering experience of life in Dubai: vibrant colors, dusty horizons, and mind-boggling bureaucracy. The film reveals the confusion of a postmodern city seeking its direction. Dubai is full of talk and dreams, but the real experience is less glamorous than the hype. Despite colossal changes in the city, desert sands still flow languidly through many neighborhoods. Daily tasks that should be simple take an inordinate amount of time, while seemingly impossible constructions spring up over night. The biggest, the tallest, and the most expensive are Dubai’s superlatives while local artists employ gritty recycled materials. When asked about the burgeoning art scene, everyone speaks at once. A cacophony of voices chimes in on topics from censorship to consumerism to workers’ rights, contrasting sharply with the quiet solitude of artists at work.