In all corners of the world, filmmakers are looking to reinvent an industry that has for decades been rolling out cinematic experiences built on years of traditional creativity and imagery. Today, we are facing an immense challenge, either we reshape our thought process or relinquish our ability to progress into the next generation.
Not regarding the talented and hardworking filmmakers which have captivated us with their cinematic brilliance, a new breed of young directors, writers, producers, and actors are taking center stage, giving the film industry a much-needed breath of fresh air. Their creative flair, mythical tales, psychological horrors, and edgy postcolonial films are captivating audiences, leaving them with their mind entangled in a web of thought and anguish.
Among an endless list of new wave directors and filmmakers, a single creative entity has stood out. Aziz Aljasmi has only recently become a global name – with an already established profile, lucrative awards, and exciting projects heading into post-production, we have taken the chance to get to know Aljasmi a little better.
From past to present, where did your journey in film directing start?
“I studied a Bachelor of Arts at Kuwait University, graduating in 2004. After almost more than 10 years of working in television and working on small scale television commercials, my passion has finally come to life. I have worked on many projects with some talented individuals who I am excited to see change the industry, not only here in Kuwait but around the world. It’s been a long journey of failing, being defunded, having productions canceled, and not always having the right set of resources, but directing has always been something which I am passionate about. Sharing my creativity with others in the shape of the film really brings it all to life.”
What are some notable achievements you have received since starting in the film industry?
“It’s easy for one to measure your success against the number of awards or honorary mentions you’ve received, but I think in our industry it’s more important that your hard work and dedication to every project reflect in the final product. So many people, companies, and other entities place so much trust in you, their money, and their resources, so having received some distinguishable awards really makes me humble.”
Aljasmi has to date received several awards, including Cannes Lion, Dubai Lynx, and MENA Cristal. More so, the B&W Report has recently ranked Aljasmi as one of the Top 10 Directors in the Middle East.
Tell us about the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
“Every project is exciting because you get to experience something new and different, work with creative people, and look at how something goes from paper to film. After ten years of working in television commercials, I have been given the opportunity to direct a musical theatre production in association with the Jaber Alahmad Cultural Centre (JACC). Unfortunately, a lot of our planning and production which was set for launch in April 2020 had to be postponed until 2021.”
Aljasmi has mentioned that the name of the show will be ‘An Evening with Abdul Hussain’ which will feature the legendary comedian Abdulhussain Abdulredha, which will transport the live audience back to a colourful past, with nostalgia through magical places, along with orchestral music and live performances.
Is there something which you would like to incorporate into your own films one day?
“It’s good when people are passionate about something, whether it be your job, a hobby or a new skill – the same goes for those people who feel strongly about societal issues. Being born in the 90’s Kuwait wasn’t the easiest as we were in the middle of the Iraqi invasion, my country and people have suffered and endured a lot of hardships, and I want to share this with the rest of the world. Yes, there are similar films and short films already produced, but not from a Kuwaiti narrative, telling the story from a first-hand experience adds a lot more value and depth to it I think.”
How do you keep creative?
“Creativity isn’t something which is always present in our line of work, it’s good to look at what others are doing, learning from them, taking their process and thinking of new ways to do it, not necessarily better, but different. Read, watch, write, listen, and talk – that’s how you learn and witness new things.”