Vida Rizq is the principal founder of Aflamnah, a crowd-funding initiative for creative people in the Middle East.
As a guest blogger, she gives an honest account of where the Arab world stands on creative collaboration, discusses the challenges ahead and shares her aspirations for Aflamnah, which is based in Dubai.
What will you change today?
By Vida Rizq- Principal Founder – Aflamnah
It’s no secret that the internet changes things every day. It’s shrunk the globe, switched the way we communicate, changed the face of politics and provided us with an abundance of information that pales the British Library in all its glory by comparison.
Most importantly, it has empowered individuals and no more so than in the field of creativity. The opportunities are enormous for content to be created, shared, viewed, commented on, improved, changed, marketed, edited and distributed – and this is all possible from a single location.
Filmmakers today are leading the way. Did you know that 10 percent of the films at the Cannes Film Festival had benefited from crowd-funding? And a staggering 17 percent of the films at Sundance this year had invested time and energy raising funds through crowd-funding platforms in their countries.
These are staggering figures that made us, at Aflamnah HQ, realise we too could use the power of online to provide one more avenue for creative minds to find the necessary funds they need to bring ideas to life.
The Arab world has woken up again to the importance of culture, owning our stories and sharing them with the world. These stories are not limited to the films we make but also how we make them is important: where the ideas come from, our journey to achieving that dream and those we work with along the way and why. We need to bolster what already exists in this industry and create new careers and new heroes.
Recently, there has been much talk about new opportunities for filmmakers to find funding and this has resulted in positive progress.
At Aflamnah, we think there is still a very long way to go; great results don’t come so easily and quickly. We have to learn the ropes, set some benchmarks, learn to take constructive criticism, appreciate where we are in the global context and recognise that the most important stories will be those that cross over and resonate with audiences across the world. That is the sweet spot which will provide the world podium for celebrating and communicating our successes.
This is where we feel crowd-funding plays a role and we hope that Aflamnah will be recognised as a tool that helped change more than just the number of movies that get made. Aflamnah is there to help people vote with their wallets, get behind great ideas, utilise the power of the internet to spread the word and change the conversation to remove the ifs and buts and replace them with when and how and who and how much, and why and why not.
Today the tools are there and our youth understand the power of social media. It’s time we harness that knowledge and put it with the creative ideas to galvanise financial support. The filmmaker and his team should also have an army of supporters that will help them spread the word, talk about the idea, take part in their project and give money.
It’s cool to help others and it’s cool to give what you can. This really is about the collective power of the crowd, and not the clout of an individual. It’s an even playing field and welcomes people from everywhere to play. It’s time to get out of bed and take part – the time to watch from a safe distance is well and truly over.