Diff buzz 2014: Catching up with animator Mohammed Saeed Harib

Emirati director and animator Mohammed Saeed Harib poses during an interview at the Dubai International Film Festival in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
Emirati director and animator Mohammed Saeed Harib poses during an interview at the Dubai International Film Festival in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

Freej creator Mohammed Saeed Harib has said Salma Hayek came to feel “like family” after he spent over a year working on his segment of the Dusk Till Dawn-starlet’s animated adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet — even though he didn’t meet her till long after production had wrapped.

Harib told us at DIFF: “Salma was very supportive, but it’s strange with animation because you never get to meet the cast — everything is sent to you. I never met Liam Neesom or Salma, who was the producer, while I was making my section. I worked mostly with Roger Allers, the Lion King director, for more than a year. Then I finally met Salma in Toronto at the film’s launch, and again when it screened in Doha. It was so strange, because you don’t meet the talent while you’re making the film, but then when you finally do meet you feel like family because you’ve been so close to the characters for all that time.”

Harib is also currently working on an Arabic language comedy feature for Abu Dhabi producer Image Nation, a rare step into live action work for the director and animator. He explained: “I’ve done some small scale live action stuff for events and also the TVC for GFF. I’m excited about it, that’s why I took the job. I’m a director for hire which I’ve never been before. And because it’s live action, well, I like to be thrown in at the deep end. The first thing I did when I finished Freej was do a theatrical show, and you learn from these new experiences.”

Sarib adds that the script is currently in the advanced stages of development in the USA, after which it will come back to the UAE where the Image Nation team will Arabise it: “We don’t have a date for production starting yet,” he says. “This is Image Nation’s baby and they want to make sure everything is perfect before it goes out.”

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Published: December 14, 2014 04:00 AM

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