Dubai-UAE: 9 August, 2012 – Ramadan Majlis, organized by Dubai Press Club (DPC), examined emerging trends in the Arab drama landscape during its concluding session.
Titled ‘New Trends in Arab Drama Production’, the evening drew the participation of experts, producers and local artists from the Arab drama and television production industry.
Ibrahim Ustadi of Dubai Media Incorporated moderated the discussion that drew rich insights from Jamal Al Sharif, Director of Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City; Abdullah Al Ajlah, Director of Production and Purchases of Drama in Dubai Media Incorporated; Emirati artist and producer Ahmed Al Jasimi; Emirati writer and author Jamal Salem; Fadi Ismail, General Manager of O3 Productions, MBC group.
In his opening address, Ahmed Al Jasimi said: “We are witnessing a transition in the Gulf and Arab drama landscape, which requires us as producers to upgrade our technical skills and resources, particularly in production. The recent developments in the political scene have also impacted the course of Arab production. These are some of the challenges we are currently witnessing in the industry.”
On his part, Fadi Ismail said it is time for Gulf drama to move away from traditional and oft repeated themes and actors.
Ismail added: “Development and displaying the courage to innovate inproduction, particularly in the visual components, is the need of the hour. Money is not the only obstacle. The lack of courage in adopting new values also plays a key role in the stagnation. We call on those responsible for art production to show case brilliance and creativity in the visual aspects.”
Ismail pointed out that while the viewing ratio may play a role in identifying public references, its measurement is not a permanent and scientific process in the UAE.“The measurement of the viewing ratio is not adopted widely. One needs to read between the lines to identify all the factors that affect the ratios,” he shared.
Jamal Al Sharifhighlighted the valuable contribution of Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City in driving indigenous production. He said: “According to the statistics we have collected and recorded, we have noticed that producers face a challenge in meeting production costs with regards to accommodation, travel, visas, and attracting stars and talent from abroad.
“In the past two years, we registereda large influx in production. In 2011,Dubai Studio Cityreceived over 888 shooting requests. During the first half of 2012, we recorded the highestgrowth withnine dramas shot in Dubai, including twoSyrian series. More recently, the government’s initiative to set up the Dubai Film and TV Commission to support local and global production has helped reduce production costs by about 15-20 per cent.”
Abdullah Al Ajlah tracked the volume of Arab drama productions during the Holy Month of Ramadan. He said:“Production fell in Syria to 13 series markinga decline of about 50 per cent. Driven by a fall in film production in Egypt, the country recorded the production of 60 series. Gulf States were estimated to have produced 50 series in an effort to meet the needs of local TV stations.”
All panelists agreed on the need to evenly distribute Arab drama productions throughout the year in order to reduce overcrowding during the Holy Month of Ramadan.