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Mohamad Makki talks Saudi cinema and generation YouTube
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 10 - 2012

Mariam Nihal
Saudi Gazette

For many Saudis, the concept of filmmaking is an awakening dream. Such is the case with Mohamad Makki who runs a local film company called “Kingdom Pictures.” Makki has received awards for his short films and production technique.
His short films, “Badri?” won in the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai in 2009 and “Frozen Dance” won the Most Competitive Youth in the art & creativity category in 2010. Also known for his Saudi-Austrian forum documentary film produced in 2012, Makki is now working on Takki, a YouTube-based web series.
Born and raised in Jeddah, Makki graduated from King Abdulaziz University in 2010 majoring in business marketing.
Saudi Gazette caught up with the young filmmaker in an exclusive interview.
Saudi Gazette: Why filmmaking?
Makki: Because to me it's the only thing that makes sense.
Saudi Gazette: Where did you study filmmaking? What is your area of expertise?
Makki: I never went to film school, all I did was read books and practice every aspect of filmmaking - from scriptwriting, directing, cinematography, editing and even producing. I'm specialized in directing and scriptwriting mostly.

Saudi Gazette: What do you think of the potential of film in the Kingdom?
Makki: Filmmaking/cinema is rising.

Saudi Gazette: How does it feel to be a young Saudi filmmaker since filmmakers are a scarce resource in the Kingdom?
Makki: It's challenging.
Saudi Gazette: Do you think film production has been made easier and is more acceptable to the masses now? What are the barriers for people who want to study film in the Kingdom?
Makki: Yes, it's easier now then it was seven years ago when I started learning. Now we have websites that teach you filmmaking and every aspect of it. We see many creative film heads all over the gulf region making films and telling stories that are encouraging others to do such things as well. The only barriers for someone to learn filmmaking in the Kingdom are people themselves. There are no other excuses.

Saudi Gazette: Tell us about the first piece of work you did. How did it happen and what does it mean to you now?
Makki: It was bad. I gathered with my cousins and we decided to make a horror movie but we never finished shooting because we realized it was so bad.

Saudi Gazette: How easy is it to find the right team — camera crew, directors and others? What do you wish you had more of?
Makki: It's not easy to find a great cast and crew because there aren't many film student graduates around. I wish we had a film school that would teach the logistical aspects such as producers, production management and assistant directors.
Saudi Gazette: What is your dream as a filmmaker?
Makki: To tell good stories.

Saudi Gazette: Who are your role models in the film industry?
Makki: Asghar Farhadi, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.
Saudi Gazette: Where do you usually shoot?
Makki: It depends on the project/scene, in Takki we have outdoor scenes shot in the streets, Al-Balad, cafés, etc.
Saudi Gazette: Tell us about Takki; what is it about?
Makki: It's about the youth living in Jeddah trying to live their lives. The story centers around a boy name Malek and his friends.I write the script mostly. We had another scriptwriter for the first four episodes.
Actors in the series are Moayad Althagafi, Khairiah Abulaban, Ali Al-sharief, Adil Redwan, Redwan Alreemy, Hind Alsaigh; and the crew members are Abdullah Aljehani, Nidaa Anda, Bandar Tamboosy, Abady Alageed, Sultan Bajaja Abdullah Alattas.
Saudi Gazette: What do you plan on achieving through the show?
Makki: Lots of happy viewers and money.

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