Mohamed Hefzy on cinema and entrepreneurship

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Exerting his vast influence behind the scenes, Mohamed Hefzy, Managing Director and founder of Film Clinic proved that art and business don’t have to be mutually exclusive. With the launch of Film Clinic in 2006 Hefzy set a milestone in his career as a script writer and producer claiming his spot in the Egyptian film industry. With scripts of Sellem wel Tebaan, Tito, Malaky El Eskendereya and own productions such as Al Alamy, Hefzy has some track record to look back to.

 How did it all begin?

I didn’t study script writing academically, but through online courses and intensive reading. I have a family business in which I work as an engineer, but I’ve always wanted to write and direct movies besides my main job. I thought that directing would take time, and as I was good at writing, I thought that would be it. I started to meet with people from the film industry like director Tarek El Erian, and I wrote Selem wel Tebaan, which he directed.  Film Clinic was established after Malaky Eskendereya based on the many script requests we received. We develop projects from scratch in addition to hosting workshops on Screen Writing as well as doctoring other scripts. Towards the end of 2007 I ventured into production and produced five movies since then, with two of them yet to be screened. I try hard to never stop writing and manage my time between engineering, writing and producing.

What does it take to succeed?

Success is never a coincidence it is continuity and that again is never coincidental. Of course some people get lucky at first but this doesn’t prolong.  It’s a process of hard work; I dedicate time and effort to the project. I focus on the scenario, production, scripts for example get written like fifteen times before I choose the final version. I don’t do all this alone, it’s a process, and a team is involved. You need the will and persistence and never give up on anything.

What does Film Clinic offer to young talents who are eager to enter this field?

We offer script writing workshops and seminars. Lots of young people want to enter this industry with all its attractions. Some people just don’t understand that it’s very difficult and doesn’t require talent only. You should have the intent to learn and invest a huge chunk of your life into this pursuit. Youngsters must work on themselves to read and watch a lot. They must be critics.

What’s your advice to young people who want to follow your footsteps?

The audiences became more open and aware today thus more critical and sophisticated in their needs for films and entertainment. We don’t need story telling script writers to make the audience happy with a movie. There are many cinemas today, hence opportunities for people who want to make good cinema.

Was your different philosophy in production challenging at first?

I believe that any plot that is entertaining plus fascinating will be a success. I am always keen on scouting fresh blood from new actors to new directors. Like Amr Salama in ‘Zay El Naharda’, Ahmed Medhat in ‘Al Alamy’, Hany Adel for the Music of Zay El Naharda.

 What are the pillars of a successful film?

To be in sync with director and postproduction team is very crucial. We perceive the producer in Egypt as the guy who is responsible for the money only, whereas the producer must also have a good vision. I focus on the quality of postproduction with perfect color correction and sequence, then the stage of marketing and distribution.

Why haven’t you considered writing for series and sitcoms?

I participate in some of them in indirect ways as it takes a lot of time to write a serial. I like the style of ‘3ard Khas’, Hady El Bagoury is doing such a great job focusing on the quality of the series.  No one can deny the good quality of the picture and script, there is a great awareness in production although they are new to the screen.

What do you think of the following generation of filmmakers?

I see lots of potential. Mohamed Diab is one of the best these days and I think he’ll become one of the top directors in Egypt as well as Amr Salama. These young talents have this profound writing skills and life experience that when combined together, a good movie will be the outcome. They work hard on themselves and they deliver mature cinema.

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