Channel 4 Rio Production Training Scheme trainee, Murad Ali, tells us about his short film Inside Dubai's Labour Camps which has been nominated for a RTS Student Award:
Inside Dubai’s Labour Camps is a fifteen-minute documentary film, offering viewers an offbeat window on an unknown world and painting a portrayal of the trials and tribulations migrant workers living in Dubai endure. Personal interview accounts from a young Pakistani worker who travelled to Dubai riding on the hopes of earning a sustainable income for his family, provides an interesting contrast to the labourer who has been victim to the country’s sponsoring ‘kafala’ system for over 20 years. Both men depict why the branding of Dubai has become one of the most successful PR triumphs of the last decade, leaving viewers both shocked and somewhat wiser about what it means to leave family and home behind to earn a living in a searing desert land. The film was produced in response to the final year graduation film unit at Bournemouth University and forms a third of my overall Television Production degree.
I’ve always been passionate about documentary film and sports production, and while my final year on my degree had proven to be the most challenging, it was also the most rewarding! I had been lucky enough to complete work placements with the BBC and Sky Entertainment, which then led me to working as a freelancer for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and then the 2015 Baku European Games in Azerbaijan. Needless to say, I saw the graduate film unit as a valuable opportunity to utilise the practical skills and experiences I had acquired over the last three years both on the course and in the field. I had just wrapped up filming a documentary in Thailand, an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and one that encouraged me to go above and beyond my comfort zone for a film that would ultimately be my calling card to the industry. What I particularly loved about this unit was how much creative freedom I was given to really challenge myself and capitalise on a subject matter quite personal to me, from which I knew could make a film I was really passionate about.
When I first learnt that my film had been nominated in the factual category for this year’s Southern Royal Television Society Student Awards, to say that I was thrilled is an understatement. It’s very encouraging to be recognised for taking risks and the nomination is a real testament to the support and efforts of my production assistant and sound recordist Anastasia Stankovsky, my sponsors Mohammed Riaz Khan, Akhtar Zadge, Khadijah Begum and my tutor Nick Bamford – I’d like to extend my gratitude, you all share this nomination with me.
I am now working as a Technical Assistant at Timeline Television as part of Channel 4’s Rio Production Training Scheme. I first applied to the scheme as I saw it to be the perfect springboard to kick-start my career in sports production and, of course, the prospect of potentially working on the Paralympic Games in Brazil was a hugely appealing factor! Prior to the scheme, my technical knowledge of sports production was on the slim side, but now four months into the scheme, I am more tech-savvy than I ever was before! My placement at Timeline has been very gratifying, considering I now have a more comprehensive understanding of the different processes involved in outside broadcast production. Another great thing about the scheme is the calibre of training delivered by thinkBIGGER! every month at Channel 4 HQ. We’ve had intensive workshops delivered by some of the industry’s finest – individuals who are masters of their disciplines, who have come in to impart their pearls of wisdom with us and in doing so, sharpening our understanding of this multi-faceted industry. It’s a luxury to learn from the best in the game, and even better when we’re able to carry these skills with us throughout our professional careers.