Tag Archives filmmaking

The Ritual is a MINA Film Festival Finalist!

The Ritual is a MINA Film Festival Finalist!

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Remember my short film The Ritual? The one I featured in this post? Well, I received notification a few days ago that it was actually a finalist in the MINA film festival in Australia! Very stoked 😉

Here’s the certificate I received for my efforts.

Stoked!

Now this prods me forward to submit more of my films to festivals.

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Ebrahim Busaad’s Memories and Love for Nasser Al-Yousif

Ebrahim Busaad’s Memories and Love for Nasser Al-Yousif

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Ebrahim Busaad is one of my favourite human beings on earth. His art is a close second as I do love his particular distinctive style in storytelling through his paintings and prints.

Ebrahim was one of my father’s best friends, if not his very best friend. They were inseparable and have remained in contact with each other until my father passed away. Busaad was clearly influenced by my dad from an intellectual points of view. He shared with him the love of simplicity in art and that art – any art – must be genuine to endure.

Art to them both was not a happenstance, but a labour and toil of thought and research and love which must all be invested in the canvas, for only then, they believed, would that piece come to life with its own soul which carries pieces of their own souls within it too.

Ebrahim Busaad interviewed for Nasser Al-Yousif's documentary (pictures by Ali Salman)

Talking to Busaad this morning made me realise what “pure love” is.

He loved my father for his person and his art, his intellect and for the generosity with his time and information. He reciprocated that love with his passionate embrace and belief in his own art, as well as paying it forward too.

Our conversation was really deep and enriching. It is through Ebrahim I got to know my father a bit better and am getting to understand various things about him as more and more blanks get filled.

I’m really happy that I have embarked on this project. It is very emotionally draining for me and I’m trying as much as I can to stay detached and professional. I awe that to my audience in order to deliver a better film to them. I want them to understand Nasser Al-Yousif, his environment, challenges, perspective and art, and I shall remain true to that central concept throughout.

I’d like to recognise and render my thanks to Mr Ebrahim Busaad for his generous contribution to this project. I believe his will be a cornerstone of this production.

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Short Stories Welcome

Short Stories Welcome

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Do you have a story that you would like to see in film? Well, you’re in luck. Submit yours to me and I’ll give it consideration to be made into a short film – or a long one for that matter.

While I’m open to consider any story, please be aware of a few rules:

  1. You must own the rights to the story you are submitting
  2. It must be original and has not been made into a film previously
  3. Although exclusivity is not an issue at the consideration stage, you might be asked for exclusive rights to produce it into a movie
  4. You will be required to sign legal release forms once a decision is made to use your story
  5. At this time, no financial remuneration is offered; however, you will receive full credit
  6. If your story goes into production, you will be invited to be on set or help with production should you so wish
  7. I reserve the right to add and/or change rules and regulations as I progress. I’ve not done this before so bear with me please. I’m in this for the fun rather than the money.

Still interested? Please submit your story to me via [email protected]

Let’s get to it!

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Amazing. 3k video resolution on an iPhone

Amazing. 3k video resolution on an iPhone

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The latest version of the Filmic Pro application, version 6, is amazing. It is very intuitive to use and as importantly opens up a whole host of features and resolutions to iPhone filmmakers. The new version is capable of going up to 4k resolution on iPhone 6S series and above. Unfortunately older phones are limited to HD due to hardware.

However, as I discovered, if you had saved a higher resolution setting from a previous version of Filmic Pro, that setting was available on my older iPhone 6+ and was able to record in 3k without audio. Here’s my test:

The clarity is astounding! Crank up the resolution to 4k (it should’ve been 3k at 1728p but YouTube prefers 4k it seems) and put it on full screen and enjoy.

Here’s to more iPhone videography and stories.

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Video Production Training Course with the Pros

Video Production Training Course with the Pros

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My company, Gulf Broadcast, is running a video production training course in November. I’ll be conducting the training with the help of my GB team. The course is a perfect opportunity for corporate communication officers and executives where they will learn the basics of the craft and will be able to apply the techniques learnt to create their own company videos. Just think of the amount of time and money they will be saving. More importantly, they will gain complete control of their projects and will ensure that their message is never misinterpreted.

If you want to know more about this course, or indeed know of someone or a company that can benefit from it, please help me spread the word. Visit Gulf Broadcast’s Training section for more information.

video-production-training at Gulf Broadcast

Want to take control of your communications
messaging and produce your own videos?

Corporate Video Training Course
by Gulf Broadcast

Master the phases of video production and apply them to any video production project. You will learn the critical aspects of production and delivery of your projects in a right combination of theory and hands-on practice in a course that is led by the experts at Gulf Broadcast.

By the end of this short course, you will learn how to create videos for your website, conduct and film interviews and create training and how-to videos on your own. Register now to book your place.

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Filming in Bahrain, dodging the hostility of permissions

Filming in Bahrain, dodging the hostility of permissions

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Filming in Bahrain is not always fun. Almost every time we go to film in cultural or a historic venue we get shooed off by a security guard or some other functionary with a perfunctory warning to go get permission first. We get faced with this especially when shooting cultural spots like the Bahrain Fort and the like. No one offered us an explanation why such permission was required and in most cases they wouldn’t know where or whom to apply to gain it.

The question is, why is permission needed in the first place. What is the cultural authorities afraid of? What will clips of a fort or other such structure threaten?

I know this is very tiresome and believe that the process is completely unnecessary. My view is that the government should welcome filmmakers – amateur or professional – to shoot to their heart’s content. What their footage will do is promote Bahrain’s culture and history and be a good pull for possibly the right kind of tourists. What they’re doing to us now with this requirement is at the very least delay our projects until such permission is procured.

For Bahrain’s sake we need less red tape, not more. So please, remove the restrictions on filming in the country, or at the very least in all cultural and historic locations. All we want to do is show the country, its history, culture and people in the best possible light through making films worth watching.

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I has BMPCC toys!

I has BMPCC toys!

I just received quite a number of toys for me favourite camera, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, or BMPCC to its friends. This has become my go-to kit for my “Mahmood’s Garden” productions, and although I’m still discovering all its features, and getting to grips with the various aspects of colour correction and using Final Cut Pro X – the latter due to the built-in ProRes codecs which obviates the need to transcode the material to Avid, thus saving time – I’m pretty happy with it.

The toys I received should speed up the production process, and also open up a wealth of glass options which I have aplenty from my vintage Nikon F3 camera, and the various Canon EOS glass I have lying around the office too, these should up my production capabilities somewhat, or at least make it a bit more interesting.

The piece-de-resistance is the Varavon Armor Pocket BMPCC Cage which will allow me to attach the various necessities on the rig, rather than having stuff just dangle about dangerously.

Here’s what the kit looks like on initial configuration this afternoon. I think it looks pretty spiffy, don’t you?

bmpcc-varavon-toys

You will also notice the plethora of converters in there: the Nikon and Canon EOS to MFT, the C-mount to MFT, the Sony battery plate which will give me a decent amount of time to record – the manual says about five hours! and the all important LCD hood that will allow me to see the image I’m recording in the bright sun of Bahrain. Not sure if that hood will actually fit around the cage, but it’s worth a try.

I’m really looking forward to the weekend to go out and shoot some birds, now that I can use the long Nikon zoom lenses I’ve had lying around for ages in their camera bags!

Stay tuned, and please visit my “Mahmood’s Garden YouTube Channel” at http://YouTube.com/MahmoodsGarden to see what I get up to in my garden.

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‘The Suffering of the Iraqi People’ tonight at BCC

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Iraqi People’s Suffering Documentary

Iraqi photographer and documentary maker Ehsan Al-Jyzani

يدعو الفنان العرقي والمصور الفوتوغرافي إحسان الجيزاني جميع المهتمين بالقضية العراقية لحضور عرض فيلمه الوثائقي “الجذور” وهو من تأليفه وإخراج الفنان علي طالب

ويجسد الفيلم معاناة الشعب العراقي في فترة ما بعد الاحتلال الأمريكي

وسوف يلي الفيلم عرض صور فوتوغرافية للفنان العراقي إحسان الجيزاني

Iraqi photographer Ehsan Al-Jyzani would like to invite you all to a special screening of a documentary about the suffering of the Iraqi people at the present time.

The documentary is written by Ehsan himself and directed by Ali Taleb

The film will be followed by screening of photos shot by Ehsan.

The screening will be at the Bahrain Cinema Club in Juffair at 8pm tonight, 26 April, 2007.

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‘Women without Shadows’ tonight at BCC

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Haifaa Al-Mansour's Women without Shadows documentaryHaifaa Al-Mansour will be showing her much acclaimed film Women without Shadows tonight at 6PM at the Bahrain Cinema Club.

The film and its director both received various local and international accolades, some of which are:

    1. The Golden Dagger in Muscat Film Festival for best documentary- 2006
    2. The Critics Golden Dagger for best film- Muscat film festival- 2006
    3. The Best Documentary in the Gulf region: Emirtes Film Festival 2006
    4. Special Mention: Beirut International Film Festivals for Docs- Docdays-2006
    5. Special Mention: Rotterdam Festiaval for Arab Films- 2006

The Saudi Arab News said about Women without Shadows:

Many who disagree with the Al-Mansour believe that the film doesn’t reflect reality; others are angered by Al-Mansour’s lack of knowledge about Islam. Norah, an Islamic culture teacher, asked, “What gives her the right to pass judgment on such matters? She isn’t an Islamic scholar; she’s a film director!”

Suleiman, a Saudi man, agrees with Norah. “I would advise the director to leave such sensitive issues to qualified individuals in order to prevent our children becoming infected with doubt about our religion.” He accused Al-Mansour of projecting her own perceptions of Islam on the public at large and is concerned about how damaging this might be.

Al-Mansour answered some of her critics by saying, “I didn’t try to force my personal opinion on the public or influence the public in any way. I simply wanted to convey the experiences and opinions of many women here in the Kingdom.”

Al-Qarni Retracts Statement on Hijab
Sheikh Ayed Al-Qarni has retracted an earlier statement in which he said the hijab was the covering of hair, not face. He once again fell in line with the rest of the scholars in the Kingdom with regard to the need for women to cover their face in public.

The International Herald Tribune also wrote about Haifaa and her movie; here’s a snippet of that article:

The movie, which looks something like an Egyptian musical, but with a Saudian context, was shot in Dubai and stars the flashily handsome Saudi Hicham Abderrahman, winner of the local “Star Academy” TV show. It touches on conflicts between Western liberal and Saudi conservative values. “It’s like a big studio film,” said Mansour, “and a hit throughout the Arab world.”

Her own first film is a more modest proposal. “These days, you can make a documentary that has impact,” she said. “Documentaries have become big.” She started out interviewing women street vendors: “They are free and aggressive because they have some economic independence, so they can express more.

“So many women are afraid to express anything,” she added. “It’s not just a question of religion, but of men taking advantage of the system: within the old tribal system, women didn’t have a chance. But today, things are opening up. I’m lucky: I got help from his royal highness, who is supportive of women,” she said, referring to Prince Talal.

Mansour interviewed women who speak their mind, and women who hide, invisible beneath their garb, fingers tugging nervously at their dark gowns. “I have nothing against marrying a married man,” says one young girl. “I don’t mind being a second wife.”

Mansour said, “Many don’t even realize they are unhappy. They are afraid of showing their feelings, of showing anything. With this movie, we wanted to change the reality for Saudi women because this is a critical and important moment. The times are changing and now there is an opportunity for all women to be more active. If they lose this chance, it would be sad.”

As for the sheik who said there was no Islamic rule ordaining women to veil their faces, he had to recant. “His interview made the Muslims nervous and angry, so they pressured him. It wasn’t so bad for me because of course they hate me but I’m not one of them; he is one of them. He even had to say that I had manipulated him. I didn’t. But he’s a good man and I still like him.”

After reading this, are you sure you would want to miss this documentary? This is an excellent change to try to understand some of the dynamics of Saudi, especially that it exposes such a thorny subject. It is a glimpse into some of the most secret depths of Saudi society and psyche.

I’ll be there at 6. I hope many of you will join me too.

If you are a blogger, please mention this in your blog too so that we spread the word. This is very short notice I know, but together we can ensure that many people attend this rather important showing.

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