On episode 6 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host and Atlantic Council empowerME Director Amjad Ahmad speaks with Telfaz 11 and C3 Films CEO Alaa Fadan about his trailblazing efforts to produce TV and media content with Saudi talent, the recent Netflix deal, and the culture change that is boosting entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi has been a black box in terms of stories from the people…and I think the world will be excited to hear these stories, and deals like Netflix will enable us to tell these stories.”
1:01 Alaa talks about the journey and the opportunity that he saw in creating Telfaz especially in an era when entrepreneurship was not fashionable
9:06 Alaa talks about how they reduced cost of running their business and how they distributed it to the people and became huge in Saudi Arabia in terms of content
11:14 Alaa talks about how their content resonated with creating an outlet for Saudi creatives and a Saudi voice as they grew
14:21 Alaa also talks about how the globalization of their content will look like after signing the deal with Netflix and being given that global exposure with their shows
17:41 Alaa talks of the movie industry in Saudi especially opening of the movie theatres in time when others countries are retreating from it going virtual and if the industry will survive
20:40 Alaa shares some of the ecosystem changes that he has seen in the industry in the last 10 years that he has been in this business
22:35 Alaa also talks about if the talent pipeline has become more robust in Saudi now that there’s a professional outlet for creativity
23:03 Alaa talks about what needs to happen for the talent pipeline to improve especially in Saudi Arabia
25:08 Alaa also talks about what needs to be done in Saudi to motivate the big companies and the government to start working with the local talents
26:26 Alaa explains from an educational side how they are investing in it to create a sort of vertical and creative arts
27:26 Alaa talks about the engagement of women in arts and creatives and if the participation of women in this industry in Saudi is increasing
30:10 Alaa talks about the funding side and some of the challenges that he faced in getting the capital and especially the venture capital
32:13 Alaa explains if there will be more Saudis starting companies today in the entertainment industry and viewing it as a career
34:47 Alaa talks about the importance having the role models in an industry that are doing well and how it encourages young entrepreneurs
36:29 Alaa also talks about the big observations that he is noticing about the culture change in Saudi in the past few years
39:14 Alaa talks about how digitalization has accelerated due to the pandemic and how the pandemic has impacted Telfaz
40:59 Alaa also talks about if there are more international players approaching him and Telfaz for more Saudi specific content
43:06 Alaa talks about where he sees Telfaz in the next five years given all of this acceleration of the industry in Saudi
44:34 Alaa talks about their audience and if he sees it expanding locally and even globally in the near future
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The empowerME conversations podcast features conversations with business and government leaders shaping the Middle East. The podcast sheds light on key opportunities and challenges for companies and governments, and Season 1 will focus on top regional entrepreneurs and their path to success as well as struggles they faced along the way.
empowerME at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East is shaping solutions to empower entrepreneurs, women, and youth and building coalitions of public and private partnerships to drive regional economic integration, prosperity, and job creation.
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