Qatar students to launch digital production firm

April 1, 2012

Four students will use funds they won in Qatar ICT Conference & Exhibition’s innovation competition in early March to launch a digital production company this year.

According to the Northwestern University in Qatar, the multimedia projects will focus on current events in the Arab world for foreign audiences.

“We see a lot of international media companies coming to the region to tell stories about the people here, but they often use producers who are not from the region,” Ashlene Ramadam, one of the winners, said during her team’s pitch at the competition. “Our company will allow foreign media companies to commission and produce stories about this region that are told by people who actually live here and understand the culture on a deeper level.”

Ashlene is joined on the project by fellow NU-Q students Rana Khaled, Melanie Fridgant and Shannon Farhoud. Previously, the quartet of journalism and communication majors had worked together on the creation of a successful Al Jazeera award-winning documentary that was featured on National Geographic Music, the university said.

Their idea came after the four noticed the high interest among foreign audiences for high-impact visual media on developmentsin the Arab world. The students saw opportunity in what they identified as a present lack in quality documentaries produced from a local perspective.

“We are extremely proud to see our students using the skills and knowledge they acquired as undergraduates to forge a new path in storytelling and entrepreneurship here in Qatar,” said Everette E. Dennis, NU-Q dean and CEO. “Northwestern strives to empower Qatar’s young people to tell their own stories and make their voices heard. We prepare our students for professional and leadership roles in the country’s ongoing media development and provide them with the tools to succeed in today’s digital global economy. ICT Qatar’s backing of our student’s business plan is a testament to that.”

On top of supplying the winners with 30,000 QR, ICT QATAR will sponsor and legalise the company, and provide two years of office space for the production house.

“Storytelling is our passion and we want to keep on doing this for the rest of our careers,” Melanie said, following her team’s success. “We have already had success with the documentaries we created and now we have the financial and legal support to create projects and works that catch the world’s eye.”

The company hopes to close the gap between the East and West using the women’s Arab upbringing and a Western education. The content will be delivered across a trilingual platform of English, Arabic, and French.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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