The master of horror and renowned author, Stephen King awarded budding filmmakers at Middlesex University Dubai the rights to adapt the short story, ‘Stationary Bike’ from his book, Just After Sunset for just 1 USD.
In a quest to provide exceptional study experiences to its students, the University’s Film and Media Department requested the rights to create a short film based upon the short story by Stephen King under the author’s ‘Dollar Baby’ programme. The author’s objective is to enable and empower film students and aspiring filmmakers who are trying to make a name for themselves in the industry.
Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Director and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University Dubai, said; “We believe in fostering the region’s talent, and this project under Stephen King’s Dollar Baby programme will provide tremendous exposure to our students.” He further added, “We look forward to developing and enhancing our student’s skills through this project under the guidance of our respected and highly experienced faculty and industry partners.”
Middlesex University signed the dollar contract to adapt Mr King’s Stationary Bike, a story featured in the writer’s collection, Just After Sunset. Stationary Bike is a streamlined fever dream of a tale, in which an ordinary household object assumes otherworldly powers and a familiar journey takes a terrifying twist. When commercial artist Richard Sifkitz finally gets around to having that physical he'd been putting off for years, and his cholesterol comes back dangerously high, he buys a stationary bike, and vows to ride it regularly. A riveting riff on artistic frustration, midlife mortality, and hard-won redemption, Stationary Bike is a thrill ride that could come only from the mind of Stephen King.
Speaking about the achievement, Dr David Tully, Head of the Film and Media Department at Middlesex University Dubai said, “It is an honour and an amazing opportunity for our students to adapt the work of the world-famous author. This is not only exciting from the University’s perspective, but it’s also exciting news for the region. Especially with the growing attention towards regional filmmakers.”
As per the ‘Dollar Baby’ contract, students may use the rights to adapt the short story but cannot use it for commercial purposes. They can, however, submit their work for awards and recognitions across film festivals that do not hold any monetary value.
Mr Afroz Nawaf, Film Lecturer at Middlesex University Dubai, said, “At Middlesex University Dubai, we take classic classroom experience and turn them into a practice unlike any, with real-world project integration, strategic and corporate partners. We strive to provide an all-round education that goes beyond theory to practicality, helping students develop their knowledge and skills for future success.”
Students across year 1, year 2 and year 3 will be participating in this project, which will be conducted between December to April 2019 with the final DVD of the short film being shared with Stephen King. This project will be completed under the guidance of the lecturers from the Film and Media Department, and Middlesex University Dubai’s alumni members will also offer their expertise as consultants to render this project into a huge success.
King previously granted the rights for “The Woman in the Room” to writer and director Frank Darabont for a 1983 short film. Darabont went on to write and direct the critically acclaimed 1994 drama “The Shawshank Redemption,” also a King adaptation, and co-create the wildly successful AMC horror show “The Walking Dead.”
The adaptation of Stationary Bike will be completed in-house at the University’s state of the art facility, MDX Studios which features industry standard editing suites that includes Colour Grading suites, Editing and VFX suites, ADR Booth, 4K Editing facilities and a newly designed integrated learning space that also includes a screening room. MDX Studios is currently the only film university in the Middle East Region to be certified by Blackmagic Design.
As part of an ongoing collaboration with Roxy Cinemas, the final thesis projects of year 3 students along with the final presentation of the short film based on the short story by Stephen King, Stationary Bike will be showcased in cinema during a private screening.
Previously, Middlesex University Dubai Film students have won awards across the world at Film Festivals and various competitions including 5+ awards at 48HFP (DIFF) 2017 with student Lakshmi Sateesh currently in the running for Global recognition for her film ‘Hers Truly’ with an Official Nomination at the Global University Film Awards 2018, Hong Kong.
For students who wish to explore their future potential and carve a successful career in films and media, Jan 2019 intake are now open. For more information, please visit https://www.mdx.ac.ae/courses/media.