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RIYADH: A few years ago, the campaigns and designs of local fashion brands were generally promoted by faceless or undifferentiated models on a plain white background and focused on clothing.

Obad Films wants to present a range of clothes to the public in a dynamic way through a story.

The company was co-founded by Saudi duo Faisal Shaath, 20, and Ahmed Obad, 22, who made their passion for photography a reality.

Their goal was and remains to bring a fresh and youthful perspective to the Saudi film industry. The company has established itself in the Riyadh media sector through unconventional video production methods, driven by the desire to be heard and seen by the older generations.

“We have grown tired of the way things are presented. It is always the same. If it’s a fashion brand, it’s always shot in a parking lot, it’s always shot in a desert, ”Obad told Arab News. “What sets us apart is that we really go beyond what you see on the market. “

Although they referred to these places as generic, they still used the same sets for the Whyos fashion brand video campaign. “We used a skate park, a parking lot and a desert. The way we showed them all together was really different because of the choice of music, the way it was sequenced and the story told through the video, “explained Obad.

The company counts brands and companies from different sectors among its customers. Work with clothing and lifestyle brand Proud Angeles, streetwear and fashion store Urbn Lot, the largest government-backed music festival of Saudi Arabia, MDLBEAST’s Soundstorm, AlMashtal Creative Space, Huawei and others. , etc.

We got tired of the way things are presented. It is always the same. If it’s a fashion brand, it’s always shot in a parking lot, it’s always shot in a desert. What sets us apart is that we really go beyond what you see on the market.

Ahmed Obad, co-founder of Obad Films

The goal is to make high-quality content accessible to growing businesses and startups. “We work with clients who know their target audience and mission, but just need a visual boost to get their business up and running accurately and effectively,” Shaath told Arab News.

The duo created the company to bring “the perspective of young people to the world” by bridging generation gaps in Saudi society that can sometimes act as barriers to value. “The goal of youth is primarily eternal creativity, which means that we always strive to bring new and non-old-fashioned images locally and orient everything primarily towards young people in terms of the market,” said Shaath.

The term “youth” does not refer to a certain age group, but rather to a state of mind. “It goes beyond youth. It’s for today’s young people, and when they grow up, to understand what really values ​​something in terms of creativity, ”she added.

“Because of the way we film, the effects we use, the sensations we convey in our videos, we are often asked the same question. People don’t believe it is made locally. They ask: “Is he in Riyadh?” “

The country comes to life differently for their audience through their creative focus and youth-centered vision.

The two directors are self-taught and do not have an academic background in the field of cinema. Nor have they received training on a specific working method. Their knowledge of video production comes from their research, content analysis and audience reaction to their work. They feel it has given them the freedom to experiment and test the limits of what cinema means or how it might look in a professional or corporate setting.

After two years of developing their skills and shooting promotional content for car showrooms since its inception, Obad Films has had a “breakthrough”. The skills and passion of young directors allow them to quickly orient themselves in more creative sectors in line with their vision, such as fashion and music.

Obad first acquired his editing skills by creating video game montages uploaded to YouTube, which allowed him to accumulate experience in the field. Shaath cultivated his creative vision by trying to develop his video portfolio as a director and the model portfolio of his friends, using them as models. “(Our style) has continued to develop ever since,” he said.

Shaath was following Obad’s editing projects and they met through a mutual friend at the international school Obad attended. A month later, Obad Films was born in Riyadh’s Olaya neighborhood, when 14-year-old Shaath and 16-year-old Obad decided to make their dream come true by purchasing a Nikon D750 borrowed from his father’s photography shop. six years ago.

The Saudi film community is capable of much more, they argue.

“They are limited to what they have studied and think that what they have studied is the way to go. Their creativity is limited to what they already did last year. It’s not developed or elevated, “Obad said.” It’s not what you ate, it’s what you might eat. “

The company wants to tap into local talent rather than having to seek advice across the border. “We can elevate all of that and be in that market so the customer doesn’t have to look outside (from experience). We have it here, “Obad insisted.” If we start creating what the market has already created, we won’t really grow. We set expectations based on what we see outside the Kingdom. “

Through their cameras, cinema becomes an art that shouldn’t be blocked. The resulting traditional rules are adapted to the artistic vision itself, not the conventional standards of what should be.

While until a few years ago the industry was not that sensitive to differences, attitudes are slowly changing. They remember the time when someone with a non-artistic background was interested in a certain publicity. “They ended up seeing the gap between international and local film production shrink dramatically. It’s something people know, but the film industry doesn’t allow it to thrive locally. We are breaking the ground, “explained Shaath.” We are not stuck on a specific standard. We always try to go further. What is the next step? How can we grow? How can we present something different? I am not here to do what I have done last year, I’m here to do what has to come next, in 2025, in 2030 “.

With Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s influence on the Saudi community deeply rooted in helping to nurture the skills of young people, Obad Films is an example of how this concept is manifesting itself within the Kingdom on a cultural level. The company offers a new perspective on how Saudi efforts were once shown and what they could be like.

But Obad Films is not the end of the road for its creators and their ambitions are far from over. “We are looking to do more than what we are doing now, but on a larger scale and with a larger budget,” said Shaath.

While expanding their equipment inventory is certainly in the pipeline, they also intend to break all the rules. They want to become the high-end designers they know they can be. “Even if the picture isn’t good. Even if the color combination is not correct. It’s good, ”Obad added.

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