Filmmaker, Director of Photography, 2016
BA (Hons) in Digital Film and Television
"To be a successful filmmaker, one needs to be true to what they are doing. You need to be a hard worker and be aware of the fact that hard work beats talent every time. Never say you know so much or you don't need to learn more."
23 June 2016
Tareq Ibrahim; alumnus of Limkokwing University in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Digital Film & Television is making footprints of his professional career as a filmmaker and director of photography in Syria.
The 26 year old believes films are the last honest things in today’s world. Here is how he got started and what inspired him to dive into the film industry:
“I’m from an art loving family, my father is a producer and an actor, my grandfather is a poet and a musician, so I’ve been raised in an environment that is full of films, music, paintings and everything that is related to art generally. At the age of 9, I made my first interaction with a camera and acted in a Syrian series, it was a small role but till now I can’t forget the thrill I felt at that time.
I remember that I used to buy and watch any film that I see in stores or any film that I hear of, no matter what this film is talking about or which language or country, I used to watch anything and everything, this changed later on.
At the age of 13, my dad got me my first camera and I started to take pictures of the things I found interesting, one of those things was my little sister’s facial expressions, and the first photo I took of her drew my family’s attention toward my talent.
I acted in some Syrian series during the years until the age of 21; the reason for me behind the acting was because I wanted to be closer to the whole procedures of making films or the series, I always found myself behind the camera not in front of it.
At that time I was studying Pharmacy and waiting till I finish so I can travel abroad and start studying filmmaking. Every day during my studies in pharmacy I used to day dream about how great a film school would be.
You may be asking yourself why I didn’t enroll in film school in Syria, and the answer is very simple, because we didn’t have one, and my father was against the idea of me traveling and living alone in a far, strange country at the age of 18, he said, “Study something else, have a second option in life, and till then stay close to what you love and if you still want it then go for it.”
In 2012, The war started in Syria, my university was in a place that is so dangerous and it closed doors, I stopped studying pharmacy on my 4th year and I never got back to it again, I traveled to Egypt, I made two short films there, and from Egypt to Malaysia to start my film studies at Limkokwing University.
I liked the diversity at Limkokwing University and I thought this will make my life as a filmmaking student more interesting also make my films and my ideas more rich and full of different concepts that mirror different cultures and that’s what exactly happened.
I met so many great people at Limkokwing, people who later on became my family, people who are crazy talented and crazy lovable, I can only describe my time there as a time to remember my whole life.
Teaching methods at Limkokwing University were so much different than teaching methods in my country; I think the rule here is “learn it by doing it”.
During my studies at Limkowking I made and worked in 22 projects along side with my brothers and partners Yazan Alassadi and Ali Almoazen, the films had won, been nominated and selected in more than 30 festivals around the world, our films were in USA, Europe, India, China, Malaysia and Syria.
The films I worked on include ‘Identity’ which was selected at the Kashish Film Festival, India in 2015; ‘Psyche- Woman with the Red Hat’ selected in USA at the Multiverse Film Festival in 2015 and the Goa Film Festival, India same year and won Best Production Design at Malaysia’s 11th Film Festival.
Being a successful filmmaker needs one to be true to what they are doing; needs you to be a hard worker and being aware of the fact that hard work beats talent every time, so never say you know so much or you don’t need to learn more. One needs to read so many books and watch many movies, I read this say once “The good director is the good reader” so my advice is to read as much as you can.
I think the biggest challenge any filmmaker has is to find a good story or to write a good story; because once you have a good script you are 50 percent there. But if you don’t have a good script nothing you do or make will save the film for you. The second biggest challenge is the production especially when you are an independent filmmaker like most of the filmmakers in the world.
For all the students who are studying filmmaking now, I believe if you treat every film assignment that you have as your own project and deal with it seriously to make it the best you can, with the resources you have, this film will make you proud and I think that’s what most of us are looking for. I just finished a Music Video for a Syrian singer, we will release it soon, and currently I’m working on my first feature film, the script is ready and I’m choosing my actors at the moment.
10 years from now, I hope I’ll be a father and I’ll be setting with my kids showing them my new film, hoping that they will like it, but if they didn’t, I’ll not be so sad because CANNES festival nominations list is out and my film is nominated to win the Palme d’or.
The ultimate success for me is the ability to make your own choices, the ability of doing what you love and believe.”