By Elías Jabbe
Riyadh-based entertainment startup, Telfaz11, have been on an international journey after creating immensely popular short films and video series such as Khambalah, Top 5 and Alkhallat that have amassed billions of views on YouTube.
Following their launch in 2011, a presentation of their short films in Los Angeles at the 2017 Saudi Film Days festival and raising venture capital from the likes of UAE-based angel investing experts VentureSouq in 2018, Telfaz11 is launching its Dubai office tonight.
Telfaz11 CEO Alaa Fadan took time to answer questions as his team prepares to expand at a time when Saudi Arabia’s local entertainment industry enters an unprecedented era of growth.
What are some of your plans for your presence in Dubai during the next phase of growth for your startup?
The UAE is a very important commercial hub and our regional expansion is the natural way forward for a growing digital media company like ourselves. With our Dubai team, we plan to expand our commercial presence and build relationships with leading agencies and brands based in the UAE that are targeting the regional local markets.
Are there any new original video series we can look forward to, following the success of Alkhallat?
Yes, we are working on a few new concepts: one is actually currently in production. There’s exciting stuff coming from the Telfaz11 team that also look at a new demographic target while maintaining the same Telfaz11 humor and appeal. Keep an eye out for a new family-oriented show to launch soon.
Can we look forward to some films from you in 2020?
We cannot promise anything yet, but Telfaz11 is constantly looking at film projects that are culturally significant and we will be pursuing some exciting premium productions in the near future.
What insights on brand building can we take away from how actors in Telfaz11 videos have grown over the years and starred in commercials and how you’ve subtly integrated brands as native content in your video series?
Brands who understand their consumers and respect them ultimately win. Saudi youth culture is a beautiful and complicated beast, and we at Telfaz11 know it inside out. That’s why many brands that understand the value and appeal of our content have succeeded at leveraging our reach for their brands and campaigns though brand integrations on our popular shows.
With cinemas being built across Saudi Arabia, how close do you think we are to seeing Saudi filmmakers showcasing their craft across the Kingdom?
Very close: local Saudi filmmakers have been eager for the opportunity to allow them to master their craft professionally, and cinemas will finally allow them to do that. We are excited about the prospects this brings and Telfaz11 will also be riding that wave.