Saudi filmmaking company brings fresh production methods to KSA’s screens

Saudi production company Obad Films seeks to showcase products to its audiences through stories and high-quality production methods. (Supplied)
Saudi production company Obad Films seeks to showcase products to its audiences through stories and high-quality production methods. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 May 2022

Saudi filmmaking company brings fresh production methods to KSA’s screens

Saudi production company Obad Films seeks to showcase products to its audiences through stories and high-quality production meth
  • Creative duo want to bring the youth’s ‘lens to the world’

RIYADH: A few years ago, local fashion brand campaigns and designs were usually promoted by faceless or indistinguishable models against a plain white background and focused on the clothing.

Obad Films is seeking to introduce a clothing line dynamically to audiences through a story.

It was co-founded by Saudi duo Faisal Shaath, 20, and Ahmed Obad, 22, and transformed their passion for photography into reality.

Their focus was and still is to bring a fresh and youthful perspective to the Saudi filmmaking industry. The company has been making its mark on Riyadh’s media sector through unconventional video production methods, driven by a determination to be heard and seen by the older generation.

“We got bored of how stuff is displayed. It’s always the same thing. If it’s a fashion brand, it’s always filmed in a parking lot, it's always filmed in a desert,” Obad told Arab News. “What makes us different is we really go beyond what you see in the market.”

Although they described those locations as generic, they still used the same settings for fashion brand Whyos’ video campaign. “We used a skate park, a parking lot, and a desert. The way we displayed them all together was truly different due to music choice, the way it was sequenced, the story that was told through the video,” said Obad.

The company’s client roster consists of brands and companies from a range of industries. They work with clothing and lifestyle brand Proud Angeles, streetwear and fashion concept store Urbn Lot, Saudi Arabia’s largest government-backed music festival Soundstorm by MDLBEAST, AlMashtal Creative Space, Huawei, and others.

We got bored of how stuff is displayed. It’s always the same thing. If it’s a fashion brand, it’s always filmed in a parking lot, it’s always filmed in a desert. What makes us different is we really go beyond what you see in the market.

Ahmed Obad, Co-founder Obad Films

The aim is to make high-quality content accessible to developing companies and startups. “We work with clients that know their target audience/mission, but just need an extra visual kick to kick start their business in an accurate and effective way,” Shaath told Arab News.

They built the company to bring the “youth’s lens to the world,” bridging generational gaps in Saudi society that can sometimes act as value barriers. “The youth’s lens is mainly everlasting creativity, as in we’re always striving to bring new and non-outdated visuals to the table locally and cater everything mainly towards the youth in terms of market,” said Shaath.

The term “youth” does not refer to a certain age bracket, but rather a mindset. “It’s beyond the youth. It’s meant for the youth now, and when they grow, to have that (understanding) of what really gives something value in a creative aspect,” he added.

“Just by the way it’s filmed, the effects that we use, the feeling that we give throughout our videos, we get this common question so many times. People don’t believe this is done locally. They ask: ‘Is this in Riyadh?’”

The country comes alive in a different way for their audience through their creative lens and youth-based vision.

The two filmmakers are self-taught, with no academic background in filmmaking. Nor have they received training on any specific means of doing things. Their knowledge in video production comes from their research, content analysis, and the public’s response to their work. They believe this has given them the freedom to experiment and test the boundaries of what filmmaking means or what it could look like in a professional or corporate context.

After two years of developing their skills and shooting promotional content for automotive showrooms since its inception, Obad Films have had a “breakthrough.” Their skills and passion allow them to quickly pivot to more creative industries aligned with their vision, such as fashion and music.

Obad initially picked up his editing skills by creating gaming edits uploaded to YouTube, which led to an accumulated experience in editing. Shaath cultivated his creative vision while attempting to grow his videography portfolio as a filmmaker and his friends’ modeling portfolios, using them as subjects. “(Our style) has been growing ever since,” he said.

 Shaath was a follower of Obad’s editing ventures, and they first met through a mutual friend at an international school that Obad attended. A month later, Obad Films was born in Riyadh’s Olaya District when 14-year-old Shaath and 16-year-old Obad decided to make their dream come true by picking up a Nikon D750 borrowed from Obad’s father’s photography shop six years ago.

The Saudi filmmaking community is capable of so much more, they said.

“They’re limited to what they studied and think that what they studied was the right way. The creativity that they have is what they’ve already been doing last year. It’s not being developed or elevated,” said Obad. “It’s not what you’ve been eating, it's what you could be eating.”

The company wants to use local talent rather than having to look across the border for guidance. “We can elevate this whole thing and be in that market so that the client doesn’t have to reach (for expertise) outside. We have that here,” said Obad. “If we sit down and create what the market has already been creating, we won’t really develop. We set expectations for ourselves due to what we view outside of the Kingdom.”

Through their cameras, filmmaking becomes an art that should not be gatekept. The traditional rules that come with it are amenable to the artistic vision itself, not the conventional standards of what it should be.

While a few years ago, the industry was not so susceptible to divergence, attitudes are slowly changing. They recalled a time when someone from a non-artistic background was interested in a certain ad. “They’ve finally been seeing that gap between international and local filmmaking become much smaller. It’s something the people know, but the film industry is not allowing it to flourish locally. We’re breaking the 101s,” said Shaath. “We don’t get stuck on a specific standard. We always strive to push. What's next? How can we develop? How can we present something in a different way?  I’m not here to do what I did last year, I’m here to do what is to be presented later on in 2025, 2030.”

As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s influence on the Saudi community is deeply rooted in helping youth capabilities to flourish, Obad Films is an example of how that notion manifests itself within the Kingdom culturally. It offers a fresh perspective on how Saudi efforts were once showcased and how they could be.

But Obad Films is not the end of the road for its creators, and their ambitions are far from over. “We’re looking to do more of what we’re doing right now, but on a higher scale and higher budget,” said Shaath.

While expanding their equipment inventory is certainly on the radar, they also intend to break every rule in the book. They aim to become the high-end creators they know they can be. “Even if the frame is wrong. Even if the color scheme is wrong. It’s right,” added Obad.

 


Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit

Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit
Updated 47 min 58 sec ago

Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit

Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit

JAKARTA: A delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, headed by speaker of the Shoura Council Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh, participated at the eighth G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit on Oct. 5, 2022.

The summit, held in Jakarta, was themed “Recover Together, Recover Stronger.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Duarte Pacheco, and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia Puan Maharani, were also present.

Widodo delivered the opening speech and welcomed the various parliament speakers, stressing the importance of the group, which seeks to solve all problems facing the world’s population, referring to the significance of communication among all countries to realize economic recovery and create a more prosperous and developed world.

Indonesia is the host of this year's gathering of the world's top 20 economies, coming next after Italy (2021) and Saudi Arabia (2020).

The G20 members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, UK, US, and the European Union. Spain is also invited as a permanent guest.


Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 

QASSIM: Al-Qassim Health Cluster launched a breast cancer awareness campaign, “Qassim is Rosary,” on Wednesday as part of international Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. 

The Qassim Health Assembly said that more than 180 of its health centers and facilities have been designated to conduct initial examinations for the early detection of breast cancer.

The campaign, targeting women aged between 18-60, aims to educate the community about the dangers and causes of breast cancer, as well as methods of prevention and early detection. 

It also encourages women to book mammogram appointments at clinics available in the region. 

The event also featured stories of women who recovered from breast cancer as well as folkloric performances.

The awareness campaign will be held at women’s government facilities, universities and colleges, and parks.


Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday

Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday
Updated 06 October 2022

Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday

Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday

RIYADH: Thousands of medical professionals and industry leaders are heading to Riyadh for this year’s Global Health Exhibition.

The conference is being held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center from Sunday to Tuesday under the patronage of Minister of Health Fahad Al-Jalajel. 

It is expected to attract more than 10,000 specialists and 250 companies from 30 countries.

The exhibition provides opportunities for visitors to meet fellow professionals and policymakers, and coincides with large investments by Saudi Arabia into healthcare under its Vision 2030 reform plan.

The forum will host conferences on public health, integrated care, and the future of medical laboratories and radiology.

The event will also launch the Leaders Forum, which will bring healthcare leaders and government officials together to discuss digital transformation and efficiency.

The GHE attracted thousands of healthcare professionals and companies in 2018 to 2019 and virtually in 2020 to 2021.


Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production
  • Over 1,000 new jobs, tourism boost expected, says agriculture official
  • Farmers provided funding, irrigation equipment and seedlings

Al-Baha plans to double its production of its famous Shadawi coffee beans, a move that would create jobs and income for the region, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Baha is home to more than 200 farms that have over 22,000 trees growing beans of the highest quality, SPA reported.

There is room for growth, with an overall area of 1.6 million square meters available that has the capacity for 300,000 trees.

Fahd bin Muftah Al-Zahrani, director of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in the region, said: “Coffee production will increase by 100 percent. It will also create 1,000 new jobs. It will have a business, training, and exhibition center, making the region a distinct agricultural tourism destination.”

Al-Zahrani said the mountainous terrain requires careful cultivation to allow the trees to flourish.

The ministry has started providing farmers with access to water sources, and tanks for storage with the capacity ranging from 60 to 240 tons.

Farmers have also been supported with modern irrigation equipment and seedlings. This initiative has so far benefitted 122 farmers.

In addition, the ministry is providing financial support for small farmers through its Rural Program, which will help them produce, manufacture and market the coffee beans.


Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000

Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000

Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000

 

RIYADH: The Saudi Red Crescent Authority has successfully organized 918 training courses and awareness lectures across the Kingdom, benefitting more than 113,000 people this year, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

On the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, Abdulaziz Al-Suwaine, the authority’s official spokesperson, said: “The authority is keen to spread the culture of first aid in educational institutions and introduce people to ways to deal with cases of sickness that require urgent intervention before the arrival of the emergency teams.

“This aims to save more lives and alleviate suffering, which would strengthen the health safety means in communities and educational facilities. Therefore, the authority held numerous awareness-raising training courses and lectures in these institutions.”

Of the 214 training courses organized at educational institutions, the Qassim region had the highest share with 52. Meanwhile, the Eastern region received 704 awareness lectures.

“The authority has previously launched several awareness-raising initiatives. The most significant of these initiatives was ‘A Safe School,’ which aims at training all those working within the educational system, be it teachers, administrative employees or students, to introduce them to the basics of first aid. The initiative included the provision of a set of training courses and lectures that suit different age groups,” Al-Suwaine said.