In the past few months Bahrain-based film house JEO Productions has been hard at work scouting for eager island artists to step up and become part of their brand new documentary series, Create Bahrain. In a bid to support the local scene, as well gather enough footage for a future full-length feature film about the nation’s budding art landscape, Create Bahrain also aims to encourage collaboration between artists and innovative filmmakers. That’s what JEO Productions CEO, director and executive producer Joseph Tito tells us…
What initially inspired JEO Productions to start the Create Bahrain documentary series?
Create Bahrain is an original concept developed by JEO Productions to facilitate and support artistic endeavours in Bahrain. It’s a video project that we have been working on since June 2015, where we will showcase in a series of short videos each artist, their craft, their finished works, plus interview them on what and who inspires them and motivates them to pursue their craft.
What type of artists applied?
We received applications from a variety of creative people – graffiti artists, painters, mosaic and glass artists, illustrators, culinary artists, dancers, photographers. It was really incredible to see the variety.
What artists and/or artistic movements in Bahrain particular inspire you right now?
The most inspiring thing for us was to be introduced to the variety of creativity on all levels; those artists who do this for simple artistic expression in their spare time as a creative outlet, to those who have chosen to do their craft professionally. We tried to obtain a selection of artists from all levels of experience.
What also really inspired us was to see the large number of people involved in artist collaborations, such as Boho Baha, and of course, which artists have chosen to utilise the workshops and space offered through Malja Bahrain to expand their creative abilities and practices.
What are you hoping to achieve with this series?
For Phase 1 in 2015, our aim is to have a series of short films the artists can use for their own promotional purposes. Videos they can link to their website, or social media, in order to gain a larger audience and possible clients for their craft. Also, we really liked the idea of having a screening night so that artists from different mediums can meet each other, connect and discuss how they keep inspired in Bahrain – a way for them to possibly collaborate on future projects and ideas.
In Phase 2 in 2016, we aim to get enough artists involved so we can hopefully have enough footage to put together a feature documentary on the art scene in Bahrain.
What are you hoping the audience takes home with them from the screenings?
We hope they see that creativity has no boundaries and that there is a support network here of artists regularly doing their craft. We hope that it inspires new creativity, for people to see that they too can be creative. All it takes is desire and perseverance to dedicate some time to express what is within, the courage to bare their vision, and the comfort in knowing that each and every one of us has something to say, something to create and that all forms of personal expression, with practice and dedication, is art.
Since embarking on this project what have you learned about Bahrain’s art landscape?
How vast it is! How many talented artists reside in this Kingdom! How many beautiful creations are occurring every day! Bahrain has a growing number of creatives and it was wonderful to see the level of artistic expertise and the variety of mediums presented.
We also did see, though, that the hardest part as a budding artist is to muster up the courage to show your portfolio to a larger audience.
We also applaud those who had the courage to apply this time around, for as artists ourselves, we know sometimes the biggest challenge is the desire to show your creativity to others, even with the fear of being exposed, or being critiqued.
As a filmmaker, what do hope for the future of creativity in Bahrain?
I hope to see more creative festivals, gatherings and artists working together on projects and ideas. It is growing every month. I wish to see more workshops and courses, and ways for the younger generations to involve themselves in different mediums, and of course, as a filmmaker, to see more people interested in building a film industry that can rival if not surpass other GCC countries. Coming from Canada and Italy, where the film industry is vast, it would be great to see more communication and connections between filmmakers. Creativity and art is not competitive – there is a place for all in the industry and the more who are dedicated to learning the trade, the larger it can become.
Create Bahrain documentary series is screening on September 10 from 7pm at Malja in Amwaj Islands (free entry). Videos will be released on JEO Productions YouTube page thereafter. Visit www.jeoproductions.com.
In the pipeline...
‘Gulf real estate is hotter than desert sand’
Joseph tells us about their new project: ‘We are currently in pre-production on our next television series, Deals in the Desert. It is a reality television show featuring Bahrain’s elite brokers, selling some of the island’s hottest real estate. Catch a rare glimpse of the industry, while feasting your eyes on the glamour of living luxuriously in the Arabian Gulf. Get ready for the deals as these razor-sharp brokers work with the most demanding clients.’