Omar Adam participated in 2015’s Arab Film Studio Narrative program. Originally hailing from Egypt, he immediately knew whilst still in his studies back in 2012 that he wanted to be a part of this opportunity.
“What immediately drew me in was that AFS was a creation of Image Nation's. The chance to work with the company and hopefully get noticed by those within it was the first point of attraction. Then, as I learned more and more about the program, it became all the more interesting: a real chance to develop, direct and produce your own short film, with the support of a major production house? Those chances do not come along very often".
The chance turned out to be a fine thing as not only did Omar learn essential industry experience, his film Five picked up ‘Best Film’ at the AFS Awards judged by industry heavyweights such as David Hasselhoff and Ali Mostafa.
Five follows the story of Younes, a man locked in his apartment awaiting a phone call from the hospital regarding his test results. It deals with the concept of dying and the character takes the audience on an emotional roller-coaster ride.
“Five's biggest challenge was in the intimacy on which the single location, single character story demanded; how do you keep that interesting for ten minutes? How do you keep the audience engaged for the duration of the film?” comments Omar.
“The answer lay in the right location and the right leading performance. Thankfully, my prayers were answered in Amir Behzad. His performance, and what he and I achieved with Younes, is easily the aspect of Five that I am proudest of”.
Since winning AFS Omar has been developing a number of feature film ideas for the Image Nation Narrative team as well as working as a director for a UAE-based TV channel. He credits his time on the Arab Film Studio program as invaluable to his career progression.
“The only way to develop as a filmmaker is to make films again and again. Image Nation gives us filmmakers a priceless opportunity to do that and continues to support our work long after the film is complete. That is the kind of teaching that breeds a strong generation of filmmakers.”
However undoubtedly the major highlight of the AFS experience was meeting the other participants and collaborating with other talents.
“I truly gained some wonderful friends over the eight months and their skills, insights and philosophies helped push my own further than they've ever been pushed.”
“My advice to future participants would be to bond with those helping you make your film. You are all in it together and the more love and trust you have between you, the better the result will be.”