Funny Filmmaker – Article in Y-Oman Magazine
Here is an article posted about me in the Y-Oman magazine – you can find the orginal here:
“He does stand-up comedy and acting and now has his sights on filmmaking after making it through to the final of a competition. Is there no end to Muneer al Busaidi’s talents?
Seek out fellow students who were at university with Muneer al Busaidi and they might be a little surprised at the direction his life has taken.
Back then, he was studying engineering and when their year graduated they no doubt expected him to follow the same career route as theirs. In fact, this was when their paths went in completely different directions. Muneer, in his own words, never touched anything to do with engineering again and started working in sales but with a mind on making a name for himself in a very different field.
Born and brought up in Oman, he ended up in the UAE and, in between digital marketing jobs for airlines, dabbled in stand up comedy, improvisation, acting and even public speaking.
Anything he turns his hand to seems to be a success. His first attempt at a professional movie project has been selected for the finals of a comprehensive search for the next big thing in filmmaking.
Six budding moviemakers from across the region are competing for the coveted title of Best Film in the Arab Film Studio competition. In contention for the short film award, and a 50,000 AED (RO 5241) prize to fund their own film, are entries from the UAE, Egypt, Algeria, Syria and the USA, along with Muneer flying the flag for Oman.
His film, ‘A Heated Interview’, tells the story of a young man from the GCC trying to get a job at the height of the recession in the Gulf.
“The film is a fast paced comedy with a strong story and message,” says Muneer.
“Essentially it shows how sticking to your morals can pay off in the long term even if you experience a short term difficulty.”
He’ll find out on Monday (July 1) whether the film has triumphed in a glittering ceremony at the Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Among the judges who will have viewed his film for the final are Hollywood star Jude Law and David Frankel, director of The Devil Wears Prada and Marley and Me.
Arab Film Studio was established in 2011, in partnership with Image Nation and twofour54, to unearth talent. Thirteen amateur filmmakers competed in a three-month program, which included a two-week boot camp, before the final six were chosen.
Muneer, who is now based in Dubai but still has lots of family in Oman, says just making it to the final was an achievement.“It’s a great indication that I have the ability and I can do this. I was very happy that it made it past the first round. Compared to many of the people on the course, I was one of the few people that had an alternative career and no formal or educational experience in film.”
Certainly, his journey to filmmaking has been an adventurous one, perhaps worthy of a short film in its own right.
Following his early education at The Sultan’s School in Muscat, Muneer went to the University of Warwick in the UK where he studied manufacturing engineering and business. From sales in London, he became a management trainee for an airline in Bahrain before moving into digital marketing. He is currently working for Etihad Airways.
An interest in filmmaking was sparked when he began recording his stand up comedy shows and sketches to showcase online. Forget expensive cameras or recording equipment, however. He used a smartphone to create most of his work.
“Film and television have a way of getting their message across and influencing people and their thoughts and perceptions,” says Muneer, explaining his love of the medium.
“I am extremely passionate about painting a positive image of Arabs using humour. The inspiration is that I want to move away from the Arab stereotypes in movies, comedy and TV shows.
“I think my movie(s) will break down barriers through laughter and a lighthearted approach.
“I may have created a silly comedy but there is a much bigger purpose that goes behind that which I am very passionate about.”
He cites the film Anchorman and American adult animated sitcom Family Guy as inspiration.
People who have a story to tell, a strong message to convey, or a passion that drives will always find a way to be heard, he believes. “Oman has a lot of very talented people and I think there are many opportunities that are growing in the region. It many not necessarily be in Oman but there are opportunities for Omanis all over the Gulf.
“Let us forget the big opportunities for a minute. Once upon a time there were huge barriers for anyone in Oman to create anything that may be seen by anyone in the world.
“Now we have the Internet and the online world is accessible to anybody. You don’t need a contract, you don’t need an education, and you don’t need permission. Just start and learn as you go along.
“If this competition did not exist, I would still be using my phone and still uploading until I made it big one day.”
To see Muneer talking about this film and find out more about him, go to: https://muneer.com/funny-stuff/things-i-made/arab-film-studiocompetition/
P.S. The rest of his family is pretty talented too! Brother Nabil is a renowned adventurer who has, among other things, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Vinson in Antarctica, and was the first Arab to walk to the magnetic North Pole and row across the Atlantic Ocean. He is now bidding to go into space in a competition. Sister Salha is a singer making a name for herself in Dubai”