It’s no secret that making movies is an expensive undertaking.
But according to the film director Nawaf Al Janahi, there is a way to make it all possible – it just takes a bit of will and research.
The Emirati-Egyptian was recently appointed as the new brand ambassador for the Arab region’s only crowd-funding initiative, Aflamnah.
He says if you “do your homework well, chances are you’re going to get your funds” through Aflamnah.
Al Janahi was approached by the initiative’s founder, Vida Rizq, when they were at the Cannes Film Festival.
“I thought she was joking in the beginning, but it turned out she was serious and it just happened,” he says.
Aflamnah, which was created a year ago, has already been instrumental in funding big projects, such as the recently filmed short, 51, starring the Hollywood actor Navid Negahban.
Al Janahi’s new role will launch him into the PR and marketing side of things to shine a light on the services Aflamnah offers.
Even though it is UAE-based, it caters to Arabs worldwide.
He says he hopes to stimulate inspiration in the community here and elsewhere in the world to fund their personal areas of interest.
“We, as creative people, want money to finance our projects. But the community has the potential to contribute to something like this by becoming more aware of how their passion for a certain theme, project or person can actually help support that.”
Al Janahi, who directed Image Nation’s first Emirati feature film, Sea Shadow, admits he is about to embark on a challenging task.
“In the Arab world, crowd funding is new. It’s the first platform of its kind in this region. That’s why it’s even more challenging here, because the community is not used to something like this.”
However, he says the concept is gaining traction. “The word is getting out really quickly. It’s one more way to fund projects, rather than waiting for grants, and funds, which you may get, or you may not.”
People in creative industries such as music, arts, fashion, technology, mobile apps, publishing, design and more – who want to get their projects off the ground – can get help through Aflamnah; It just takes a few clicks of a mouse on the -Aflamnah website.
People can donate as little as US$10 (Dh37) to the project and in return receive merchandise from that particular project, such as a T-shirt, a poster, a music album, a copy of the DVD or an invite to the premiere of a film or art exhibition.
According to Al Janahi, it starts with your inner circle – “your friends, then your colleagues”.
But he stresses that if you do your homework, you could attract involvement from the whole community. "You have to reach out to those who have no connection to you, but who believe in this particular project – or in you."