Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doha Tribeca Blog #2: Arab Cinema

There's something very exciting happening in the Arab world right now. A powerful force of artistic voices is coming to life like the sound of an orchestra tuning up, getting ready to explode into a grand overture. Quality Arabic films are starting to emerge on the world stage. Local voices are coming together. A sense of artistic film community is growing and spreading. Film schools and film festivals are bridging cultures between continents. We have Arabs telling Arab stories and preserving portraits of time through cinema that will stay around for future generations to discover.

This is all beautiful and exciting, but now let's see how we can really take this movement and turn it into a self-sustaining industry. How can we create an Arab film culture that speaks to mass audiences so we can keep people coming to Arabic films in Arabic cinemas like they flock to see the latest Jason Statham Transporter action film at the multiplex? Well, the answer is starting to come to me. And I think it's simpler than you would think. We just need to make fun movies. We need to make genre movies: comedies, horror, suspense, thrillers...etc. We need to start thinking about the potential of fun cinema in order to shape a theater-going industry.

People go to the movies to escape everyday life. We go to movies to be entertained. Who would want to go to the movies and watch a drama about a depressing subject when all they look at all day is depressing news about the suffering in the world? People go to the movies to laugh, to be excited, and be inspired, to be scared or fall in love. They go to forget their everyday troubles. So now I think there's a very special opportunity for Arab filmmakers to focus their talents on making entertainment. My first film was a drama that dealt with some dark subjects, but it had comedy and lightness throughout. My next film is a comedy. There's great power in comedy. It's not easy to pull off, but it's something that needs to be nurtured and cultivated.

Something to think about. I went to see the new phenomenon of a film in the US. There's a big hit film called Paranormal Activity that's sweeping the box office charts. It's generated more than $60million in revenues in a few weeks and that's just the beginning. The film will surpass $100million quickly. It's a very intelligently made horror film about a haunted house. I should let you know that the film cost $15,000 to make. There are four characters in the entire film. It's all set in one house. Shot with a little video camera. It was superbly executed with very little resources. The digital age has now allowed us to do anything. The sky is the limit. The rest is up to your imagination.


Anonymous Rosie said...

Have you finished your movie yet
When will you start production and hiring.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Rifqi Assaf said...

Hello man,

I wish it was as easy as u have stated, Egypt already makes such fun movies, and they are hard to compete with, because they have an industry with established STARS, not to mention dialect which is known and lovable in the Arab world, so there is commercial Arabic cinema that attracts Arabs to theaters, if u mean arriving with such genres to wider markets, this needs such films to be made in better ways technically and on the script level, and also it wont be easy to compete with American distribution giants..

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing …

6:31 PM  

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