Hello and welcome to the details of Sharjah kids’ reading fest brims with joy, says Egyptian actor and now with the details
Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Ahmed Amin says the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is very well organised.
The celebrated Egyptian writer, actor and comedian Ahmed Amin is in the UAE as a guest speaker at Sharjah Children Reading Festival (SCRF). Gulf Today sat down with him for an exclusive interview where he talked about what children need, his inspirational journey from leaving his job as an editor in chief of a children’s magazine for acting, to his latest success in a leading role in Netflix’s production ‘Paranormal.’
What is your opinion about Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival?
This is my first time at SCRF, the event is joyful and well organised. I liked the idea of the interactive activities.
Before acting, you worked as editor in chief for a kids’ magazine, and drew cartoons. In your opinion what should be the key focus in work presented before children: entertainment or education?
Entertainment is important, education and interaction are important too. But the thing is to mix them so that we don’t present a boring list of information. Education is not just science and biology, for example, but it also includes behaviour, values, identity and so on. The artistic meal should be balanced, in the same way as doctors recommend a children’s meal.
In the 80s and 90s there were many different educational and entertaining artistic works for children. How do you see content presented before children nowadays?
Actually, there are a huge number of children’s works that we import from abroad, add Arabic dubbing and achieve huge success. This had a negative impact on production original Arabic works, but another reason, which production companies are not aware of, is that children’s media is surely profitable. Everyone believes in the importance of presenting content for children, to keep trying to convince production companies to launch complete good programmes targeting the Arab child.
The year 2014 was a turning point in your career, when you decided to leave a stable office job as an editor in chief for a children magazine, and do what you love which is acting. You started acting through the low production “30 Seconds” using only your mobile phone and posted it on Facebook and YouTube. That was a big success and the starting point to a flourishing acting career. How did you do that? Who encouraged you? And how you manage financial responsibilities of the family at that time?
“No doubt every person has a special side, that if he started using in a good way, he will feel like he has got super powers. The important thing is to know your strengths, my advice is look for what you love and start doing it, and the results will amaze you.
“As for financial responsibilities, it needs management and planning. I started producing short movies and making content before leaving my job. I stopped myself from spending, unless it’s necessary, to save enough money for living after quitting my job. My wife encouraged me.”
In 2020, you played the lead role of Dr Refaat Esmail, a retired doctor who leads a full life of paranormal experiences, in Netflix’s first-ever Egyptian original “Paranormal.” It is an adaptation of late Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Tawfiq’s popular horrorthriller book series, Ma Waraa Al Tabiaa “Paranormal”, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide. The show was a huge success.
“The success of the show (Paranormal) instantly brought me into the spotlight, and gave confidence to decision makers in the field in me as an actor. I really needed that, because unfortunately, some persons think comedians are not real actors. Also, because I became known through programmes not drama.”
After the success of “Paranormal” are you going to focus more on dramatic roles?
Never, I look for a good story and director who can skilfully tell a story whether comedy, light comedy or drama. Wherever the good story goes I go.
Are there any similarities between you and Refaat Esmail, the character you played in Paranormal?
I felt strange similarities when I came closer to the character like being shy and introvert. I enjoy my time with myself. Also, I resemble Refaat in meditation. The difference is I think out loud and love playing with children.
What are your upcoming works?
I am getting ready for my first movie and started rehearsals of a show for theatre starring Akram Hosni and me.
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