Production Industry Snapshot: Michael Ahmadzadeh on MENA
Executive Producer of Electriclimefilms, Michael Ahmadzadeh sits down for a quick fire round on the challenges, improvements and future of production in MENA.
Q> How is the regional production market changing?
Michael> The MENA production market has evolved significantly over the past 5 years, in size, in creativity and in quality. In general, digitalisation and technology has been the major growth drivers of production. We have witnessed a transformation of the media sector from TV, to multi-facet digital platforms, Online streaming and increased (OOH) out of home spaces, further fuelled by the region’s population increase, rise in middle class and personal disposable income.
Q> What is the biggest challenge to regional production houses?
Michael> Despite the development of the sector, it still faces a lot of constraints, particularly in comparison to the Singapore and Sydney offices.Payment and cash flow is one of the biggest challenges not just to Electriclimefilms, but to the entire eco-system, delay in payment at the top has a rippling effect and impacts the smaller independents and freelancers, and often makes it difficult for survival. Permits and location fees have cost and time restrains, which makes it challenging for nimble, affordable production.
Q> How is demand changing?
Michael> Although there is overall growth in the market, the way content is ‘consumed’, in multiple environments and occasions, there is subsequently more media channels to fill and an increasing demand for more content – brands now want to create that content faster, in volume and cheaper than before.
Q> What high-level reform would most improve the industry?
Michael> An annual, one-time film permit so that registered UAE companies can film easier, quicker and without large fees, so the industry can adapt and meet the demands of the changing market. Stronger support to safeguard payment terms, to allow for survival and growth of smaller independents and freelancers, and to further attract industry talent to the region. Youth and home-grown talent is also important for our industry, an easy application internship visa for foreign students or recent graduates would be a great initiative to attract fresh, new talent to the region.
Q> What changes are you most excited to see in the coming few years?
Michael> I’m excited for more talent to be attracted to come to the region, overall increasing competition. If an attractive framework was put in place, Dubai could be a global hub for not only film production, but creativity and arts in general.
Executive Producer: Michael Ahmadzadeh
Production Company: electriclimefilms