Muscat – Filmmaker Omar al Zadjali is experimenting with documentaries that are just under one-minute long.
Zadjali’s films on youth – focusing on what attracts them to the job or sport they pursue – bring to the fore various aspects of Omani society.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Zadjali said, “I started making these short films in the middle of August (2022). So far, I have made five documentaries, with more in the pipeline.”
He described the genre of his one-minute documentaries as ‘unique’.
“Documentaries are usually anywhere between five minutes to an hour long, but I wanted my films to get straight to the point, as these are targeted for social media consumption.
“I wanted to find out why people do what they do, be it skateboarding, modelling, running, jumping or playing football. One day, after a long and tiring video shoot, I found myself asking why I endure the exhaustion, exertion and sometimes defeat. In that state of introspection, I started asking myself why other people take the pains to do what they do,” Zadjali said.
Referring to the challenges encountered, he said he hasn’t faced any so far. “I’m a very organised person, which is key to getting things done smoothly and successfully. My films require very specific lighting, which is available for just about two hours in the day. So being prepared is extremely crucial. If I have to meet someone three hours before we need to shoot and wait till the light is right, then that’s what needs to be done.”
Though Zadjali has had little local or international attention to date, he said he’s fine with that.
“I’m not looking for that. All I want is to be able to tell stories of incredible people. It’s not about the recognition at all. But, yes, when I see comments from people talking about how they loved my video, that makes me happy,” Zadjali said.
He loves what he does and will never stop making films, he declares.
His advice to aspiring filmmakers is “just go out and start making films, whether it’s on your phone or an entry level camera. It really doesn’t matter what you use”.
Some of his favourite films have been made on no budget at all. “It really is all about the story.”
The documentaries feature skateboarder Haitham al Wahaibi, footballer Malak al Zadjali, athlete Aliya al Mughairi, model Arna Hiraeth and painter Mays al Moosawi.