He is a naturally born storyteller and a gifted traveller between worlds – the arts and the business, the practical and the fantasy. Almost 20 years have passed since he started as an intern in a Cairo based ad agency, in the production department, accepting to learn the craft from the best, without being paid a dime for a year. Today, Fadi Fahim, CEO & co-founder of Lighthouse Films, is one of the most internationally acclaimed producers from the Middle East, with both Cannes Film festival and Cannes Lions accolades in his portfolio, besides the Dubai Lynx trophies. With a nose for talent and charmingly fluent in both street language and elite’s French, while his radar is set for the best solutions, Fadi’s personality is versatile and rich – rich In experiences, in perspectives, in ways of decoding life and business. Honestly, the +5 million Euros box office for Lighthouse’s feature film –“The Blue Elephant” is just a bonus by comparison.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Positivity – smart ideas- young talents – people with great accomplishments, able to overcome their egos.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
I always focused on environments around me – looking everywhere, exploring every detail. I was a kid with wild imagination and always telling crazy stories to everyone. At some point, people were making fun of me, because all those stories were the product of my imagination. There is also an interesting episode that made me realise early on what’s the role of hazard in one’s life. When I was 9 years old I was spending my summer with my family and their friends in Spain. One day, during a walk on the streets of Madrid, we entered a bar. They had a slot machine inside. I was short and I couldn’t really see the buttons, so I touched and pressed everything I could have access to, with my hands barely reaching the machine display. To everyone’s awe, I’ve got the jackpot. That was my first experience with luck. It opened up something in my mind and I understood there are lots of things that can happen to you besides your will and intention. It’s a thing that fascinated me ever since. Do your best, but also make some room for hazard to play its role.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
I get inspired by circumstances, by people’s behaviour and who to connect with and who to avoid. I get inspired also by the nonstop changing world and how people react to it. Sometimes I am surprised, myself, by my personality transformation and evolution since I’ve started this job in production. You need to build your personality, not look for it in other people. Let experiences teach you… rather than judging the experience.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
“18 Days” – a feature film focusing on the 18 days of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
“The Melody” campaign also won 2 Lions in Cannes Lions.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
“The Blue Elephant”, launched in 2014. People loved the double plot, mixing reality, fantasy and magic. The result is in the box office – few million Euros and counting.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
Egyptian Creativity is super cultural – and has been here, on this land for thousands of years. The average street person in Egypt is a great storyteller.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
Smart. Anyone gets it. Also, it’s really international. It’s not coming from new circumstances. It’s really based on simple human traits.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
Set your radar for smart, young people and true talent. Later on, it’s your job to update it and adapt it. Remember – substance is everything. Once you have talent in front of you, everything else is easy to achieve.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
The Nile bank. Old souks of Egypt. Downtown, the historic monuments- old churches and mosques. Cairo Downtown was built by international architects and fashion creators.Also the PYRAMIDS and our Islamic and Coptic heritage.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
SINAI, SINAI, SINAI – Luxor – Aswan. The pharaonic temples, putting all civilizations at minor place. In Luxor and Aswan you really understand what Egypt is all about. For those interested in contemporary Egypt, try the new ecological resorts in Faiyum.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
We only have the pyramids.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
For writing history. It all began here. Wanna travel thousands of years back? Start with Egypt.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality is key: but you have to train everyday – because it’s volatile, especially in the modern times and pressures… Keep smiling.
YOUR VIEW ON MONEY
Money is where most of people focus – but I think it’s a by-product, not the goal.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
They should read about older creatives. A young creative should read about the past and understand how the older ones build their way up and understand that everything goes down to commitment and hard work. They also need to be open towards other cultures, so they are able to make what’s local, a global voice and ultimately, a global business.
To discover more about Lighthouse Films works, explore their channel on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/269051833 and their web: www.lighthousefilm.com