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Q&A with Saudi Actor Ziyad Alamri


Ziyad Alamri
AM: Were you always planning to become an actor?
No, I used to create sketches in my car on Instagram back when they lasted 15 seconds. I felt like the market and producers were responsive. There was a producer that I really liked who reposted one of my sketches on his page. I came back to Riyadh and filmed with him, we got 33 million views and it was just beautiful. After Instagram there was YouTube, and that's when acting came into play.

AM: Tell us about your recent experience in the film Slave
It was directed by Mansour Assad who spoke about his story. So, he sat down with me to explain his struggles with society, especially that there are things that he wanted to do with his life but was scared of the community and its reaction. For about a month before the film he would tell me the story of the film and I could relate to him. I then went to rehearsals and auditions and felt as though I was a good fit for them.

AM: Did you feel as though you had a larger responsibility seeing that you were representing a real-life character?
The circumstances he's been through are, from my perspective, things many people experience when they're film creators. Especially that we're new to the industry so we face struggles because of our society. It's normal.

AM: Some difficult scenes that you had to shoot?
There was a fight scene that was very realistic because we were asked to actually get into a fist fight. There were no cut scenes, it was raw. I was surprised I was going to get beaten up and it was painful.

AM: How does it feel to represent Saudi cinema at Saudi Film Festivals?
It's a feeling that cannot be described. Especially that we are new to the industry and to cinema overall. We've started producing 15 years ago. We started off with YouTube, then slowly felt like we could be more creative. We started making movies and receiving funds. I'm very happy that Saudis are doing beautiful movies.

AM: Do you want to participate in projects outside of the Middle East?
I would like to create movies in the States. I need to work on my English though.

AM: What kind of movies do you like acting in?
I like mystery and dark humor.