Viewing Category ~ film

This monday, I’d like to introduce you to Egyptian Director Amr Salama. One of the most inspiring up and coming directors in Egypt, Amr has directed two feature films “Asmaa & On a Day like Today ”, and one documentary dealing with the revolution that happened in 2011 “Al Tahrir 2011, The Good, the viscious and the politician“. His work has won first place and recognition in many Middle Eastern and International film festivals. He also directed several ads, awareness campaigns, music videos, documentary films, short films and TV series. A blogger and writer, his blog boasts over 250 thousand visits and his YouTube channel has received over 1.50 million views. He has over 80 thousand followers on twitter and more than 18 thousand fans on facebook.

I: What’s the earliest memory of a creative activity you did?

A: I used to draw when I was very young, started writing short stories in prep. school.

I: If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?

A: I would have been working in a barber shop..  yeah.. really.

I: Inspiration, who? what? where?

A:  Depending on the project, with everyone new project I pick couple of inspiration sources, but mainly ads, music videos, films and theater, everything I can put my hands on. With every film/project I make I target a director or an artist that I like and try to think as I were him/her for a long period of time, then throw that away and do it my way, as my intuition drive me.

I: Share any piece of your work, recent or old and talk about it.

A: Here’s a short documentary that I directed in 2005. It was the one that inspired me to work on my later feature film ”Asmaa“. It was a humble short documentary that didn’t take long to make, but it ignited a question in me, a question of ‘why’ do i do what i do?!. It  also gave another dimension to my profession and that’s when I discovered the power of making movies. Movies can be more than just an entertaining product, it can change people’s lives, inspire and influence them. This film was made to be shown during a big AIDS conference to an audience from the big Pharmaceutical corporations. Its’ aim was to show them how people living with AIDS in Egypt are suffering, so they can lower the price of medication. What was really amazing, is that they actually did lower the prices after the conference.

Other than that, the movie was a motivation for me to have this sense of social responsibility, which is something that’s very important to every film maker.

I: Name 5 websites that you check often.

Vimeo Staff Picks
JoBlo Trailers

Monday. Today I’d like to introduce you all to one of Egypt’s young youtube sensations, Sarrah Abdelrahman. I first came across Sarrah’s videos commeing on daily Egyptian life quirks in a very original and satirical way, through my dad. From the way Sarrah describes herself, you can really get a sense of her contageous personality: “she acts for a living and makes videos for fun, insisting on staying completely independent.  She invented her own world because the earth is full of contradictories that annoy her. She also wrote this description of herself and spoke in the third person. Isnt that trolled up?”.

I: What’s the earliest memory of a creative activity you did?

S: I used to dress up and recruit my little cousins to put on a show for the family, it was usually an extravagant sketch with dance numbers.

I: If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?

S: I would really really like to be a super hero, or something like robin hood and have a pussy wagon and just take revenge all day. But in reality, I would be traveling in the world, there is this ticket that you can buy from any airline agency that expires after a year, and you can take as many flights as you can except you cant go backwards, you just gotta keep traveling forward.

I: Inspiration, who? what? where?

S:  The biggest inspiration I can get is from watching a live performance, if its really good, I am overwhelmed by hard work and focus. if its bad, I get so angry that I want to do something better. it makes me very angry to see someone doing something that I thought of doing before, that gets me going too.

I: Share any piece of your work, recent or old and talk about it.

S: I got this flip cam in 2011 and was using it ALL the time. And so i made a video about my life, four minutes,each frame taking two seconds. It took me a year to record the material (not intending to do that video) and weeks to edit it. I am really proud of that video in particular.

I: Name 5 websites that you check often.

Museum of conceptual art
Recycle Art
The Pirate Bay

October 19th, 2012

The effect of colour.

Today is Monday. It’s time for you to be inspired. This weeks’ star of the obsession sessions is no other than Egyptian Director Ali Ali. Ali is a freelance film director that lives in Cairo and works all over the world. Three years ago he founded a boutique advertising agency named Elephant in Cairo along with his creative partner Maged Nassar. It quickly became the most awarded agency in the middle east, not to mention being named by Cannes lions as one of three most exciting agencies in the world today. Together Maged and Ali have won over 6 Cannes Lions, something they would never have dreamed of achieving a couple of years ago.

This year Ali decided to quit advertising and focus on directing full time, meanwhile his partner Maged moved to Berlin to join DDB. Ali is represented by Doppleganger (His agent in Berlin) and Big Mama (His agent in Milan). Currently, all Ali does is travel round the world shooting ads for different agencies in different markets, which can be fun, if you don’t mind living out of bag. His next job is in Bucharest, Romania. He leaves tomorrow.

I: What’s the earliest memory of a creative activity you did?

A: My earliest memory of creative activity would have to be drawing. Drawing and lying. I did a lot of both when I was a kid. And I think they’re both great for building an imagination. I would lie and make up stories continually. I forged most of my report cards as well. Not telling the truth meant you always had to fill in with other stories, with fiction. so I guess I did a lot of fiction as a child. when I got older I started painting, first acrylics then oils. I had a very inspiring Art Teacher called Paul Rinaldi, and for the longest time, I wanted to be a painter.

I: If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?

A: I think I would love to have been a surgeon. I love how a surgeons job is done the minute he walks out of the operating room. Surgery is brilliant, because it’s all science, yet it still involves craft. You work with your hands, and if you mess up you can kill someone. That’s a crazy thing to do day in day out I think.

I: Inspiration, who? what? where?

A:  Who? : It’s funny, but the two people who inspired me the most in life were both called Nabil. Nabil El Solamy, my deceased uncle who was an illustrator and cartoonist living and working in the former GDR. I would spend days on end in the summer, drawing with my uncle, and inking up his old pencil drawings. I think he was responsible for getting me interested in art, and everything happened from there. Then theres my old man, Nabil Ali, a computer scientist, and a linguist. He got me interested in science, math, engineering, classical music, structured thinking, reading, logic, everything and anything I still use in my work today.

What? : I think everything can be inspiring. if you look hard enough. I like to seek inspiration from outside my field. I don’t look at ads for inspiration, or graphic design. I think real inspiration comes from other areas, away from your own, and the further the better. I mostly go to art shows for inspiration. I’m obsessive about seeing all the art shows in every city I visit. I also keep and collect all my art ticket stubs. For example, I’ve been to every major art show at the Tate Modern or Royal Academy for the last ten years. I just went to London to see Damien Hirst and his shark, that was incredibly moving and inspiring. Theater and reading are also great sources of inspiration. I read fiction mostly, Tom Robbins is my favorite living author. Nikos Kazantazakis, is my favorite dead one. And finally, people. Just being outside and talking to people I think is the best way to think. When I’m struggling with ideas or a difficult brief, I like to go outside and talk to cab drivers, or just sit in a nearby ahwa (Egyptian slang for dive coffee shop) and talk to the person sitting next to me.

Where? : Curzon soho. My favorite movie theater. I love to go there and watch three films back to back, or just sit in the coffee shop and read. have a good cup of coffee.

I: Share any of piece your work, recent or old and talk about it.

A: I think I’ll talk about two pieces of work here. One is a print ad I did for Sony Microvault (the usb memory stick) back in 2008. And the other is a TV campaign for an obscure Egyptian brand of Halawa (Halva) called Bawadi.

Sony is very close to my heart. For one, because it got me my first Cannes Lion. I remember saying I would quit advertising the minute I get my first Lion. little did i know : ) When i thought of this print campaign, I wasn’t crazy about it because it felt so obvious and so easy. I remember Maged, my partner at the time, told me, “someone must have done it, it feels too easy” and i think we both learned something that day. That the best ideas always feel too easy, and too simple, they make you think “why hasn’t anyone thought of this before”.

“Bawadi Prisoners” is also a piece of work I am very fond of. This campaign was done by Maged and myself in 2011. And it has won us every award in the region including the Dubai Lynx Grand Prix and best of show. Again, the thought was very outrageous, and we both immediately dismissed it, but then we thought, “Why hasn’t anyone used prisoners in a halawa ad before?!”. We all know prisoners eat halawa, and we always see them in films eating halawa, and the first thing you get an inmate when you pay them a visit is a box of Halawa. Initially the client wanted to use celebrities for this campaign, when we asked why he said “Because people trust celebrities” and I remember we said “But that’s not true, when it comes to halawa, they should trust the prisoners” and thats how these films were born.

I: Name 5 websites that you check often.

The Guardian
Creativity Online
The Tate
Art in America

Hi, I'm Ibraheem Youssef
I'm a Creative,
currently based in Toronto.

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