CABSAT is the most established and respected trade platform for digital media and satellite sectors across the Middle East, Africa, and Southern Asian region. Canon Middle East was one of more than 850 participating exhibitors this year. The company recently teamed up with Egyptian film star, Khaled Abol Naga, making him the  Ambassador for Canon Cinematography. As part of their programming for CABSAT, Khaled Abol Naga visited the Canon stand at Dubai World Trade Center and sat down with media to talk about Canon technology and his future projects. Check out the Highlights from our conversation below.

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Canon Booth at CABSAT

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Me, getting an overview of Canon Cinematography Products

Q: Congratulations on all of your awards and accolades. Your award-winning film, “Microphone”, was shot entirely using Canon 70D DSLR cameras. Can you share what the experience was like?

A: You have to understand the movie. The main character is a struggling, underground music artist; Someone who doesn’t have a lot of money and is making music in the underground clubs or even their garage. So what we did, as the idea was formed, was ask ourselves, “How would this type of person document their own journey?”. It was clear that this person would need to film independently using the least expensive means to get it done. So that’s what we did. We looked around and the Canon 70D was the least expensive option in the market at that time that would still render a quality product. The art really predicted how we filmed. We did it the way the main character would so the movie has that home-grown feel with professional grade production quality.

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Egyptian film star, Khaled Abol Naga, checking out Canon Products

Q: A key aspect of your partnership with Canon is to support the independent film making industry within the region. What aspects of Canon technology would you recommend an aspiring filmmaker invest in?

A: Canon has great technology for independent filmmakers at all stages. Of course, there’s the 70D and all of their DSLRs which are known for great video production. 4K technology is awesome and extremely valuable.It has  incredible low-light performance and renders good image quality in challenging environments.What it allows you to do is take a frame and edit it without losing quality.

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Egyptian film star, Khaled Abol Naga, checking out Canon Products

Q: What strides have you made to help independent filmmakers and what are your goals for the future of the independent film making industry in this region?

A: Back in 2006, a group of independent theatre students at The American University in Cairo, started an initiative to help young women work through issues that were important to them. The girls would submit anonymous letters that were read and interpreted by the theatre students. It was somewhat of an exercise for them and not a show. At the time, it was not a big production. They didn’t even have a stage. Over time, the letters became monologues and more and more ladies got involved. Finally, in 2010, The BuSSy Project had a production of the monologues in a parking lot. They contact me and asked me to come down. I did and there they were giving monologues in the parking lot…there was no big stage or full-scale production. I appreciated what they were doing and how the art was reflective of the cultural climate so I got involved. A few weeks later, we were filming monologues for a documentary. Now, The BuSSy Project is 5 years old and has shared more than 500 stories. It’s projects like this that I want to support and raise awareness for. [Learn more about the BuSSy Project by visiting their website]

As far as the future is concerned, I want to see “evolution to revolution” like the notions of Frances Coppola. “I want to help unknowns so that the next successful filmmakers come from anywhere and everywhere. I am working towards this goal through Team Cairo“.

[alert heading=”Evolution to Revolution Explained ” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]Evolution is defined as the gradual development of something. Revolution is defined as the forcible overthrow of an existing system. I interpret Khaled Abol Naga’s statement to mean that he wants to see a gradual increase of successful, independent filmmakers that eventually overthrow the multimillion dollar, highly political movie making machines that exist in Hollywood/Bollywood. [/alert]

Note: Answers have been paraphrased.