Let's make movies that sell

In the last month, I have seen at least three new films that have been made by amateur filmmakers in the Gulf. All claim to be making movies for commercial purposes and yet, the subjects they have chosen don’t seem to be made for mass appeal.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  October 30, 2005

|~||~||~|In the last month, I have seen at least three new films that have been made by amateur filmmakers in the Gulf. All claim to be making movies for commercial purposes and yet, the subjects they have chosen don’t seem to be made for mass appeal. Most seem to touch upon looking for salvation, self-discovery and other such abstract topics. While abstract themes sound very profound, they are very difficult to execute and perhaps not to be attempted the first time round. If we are making our first film, let’s go with a simple storyline and take up an age-old formula that will appeal to the masses. This is not my personal opinion. Dov Simens, director of the Hollywood Institute, recommended this when he came down to Dubai to teach a two-day course in filmmaking. A filmmaker must first make a movie that he can sell and then, when he has made a bit of money and earned the respect of his audiences, he can pick out his pet personal story and give it a go. Perhaps, then, someone will take a second look at it. We can probably take a few tips from Lebanon, which is often referred to as the seat of all talent. The Lebanese certainly know how to make a film that sells; they know how to create a storyboard that has mass appeal. To take just one instance, L’autobus, a French-Lebanese musical comedy shot on High Definition, is going to be screened in Beirut theatres this month. It tells the story of a school dance team that reunites after the Lebanese war to introduce a new fusion dance that blends their traditional Dabke dance with Techno music. The storyline sounds interesting enough for me to want to go and watch it. Let’s learn from our Arab counterparts and make movies that can sell. ||**||

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