Thirty-two year old director Mohamed Sami has already managed to establish himself in the entertainment industry and work with stars like Haifa Wehbe, Ghada Abdelrazek, and Tamer Hosny. Although he has never worked as an assistant director, he is now a trusted television director with popular series attributed to his name including Adam (2011), Ma’a Sabk El Asrar (2012), Hekayit Hayah (2013), and Kalam A’la Waraa’ (2014). A 2005 graduate of Aspen University in Colorado, Sami majored in business and minored in filmmaking. eniGma’s Mohamad Nagi sat down with the artist, and discussed his background, life, and perspective.
How did you become a director?
When I was young I didn’t know what directing was. I just liked art and photography. I knew I didn’t want to be an actor, but I didn’t know what to become. Omar Zahran, a family friend, explained to me exactly what directing was and it made me think that there are other jobs than just being a doctor or an engineer.
In 2008 I directed Haifa Wehbe’s gladiator-themed music video Enta Tani that created quite the buzz at the time. I directed clips for Shereen and Tamer Hosny as well. In fact, it was Tamer Hosny who convinced the production company to allow me to direct Adam. They were afraid since I was only a music video director and wasn’t known at the time. Adam was the first time I felt I was successful; music videos were just a step along the way.
Who’s a director that you look up to?
No one specific, really. But there are directors whose work I like watching: Alejandro González, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Fincher, Tarek El Erian, Sherif Arafa, and Khaled Yusuf.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Every shot is a challenge, because every shot has been taken before. I feel like each shot is an entire movie: the dialogue, the background, the foreground.
What is the most important thing about film/TV for you?
There has to be a moral to the story that is in line with my beliefs. I don’t like anything that has to do with religion or politics. Politics and religion corrupt nations. I like making people experience realistic problems through my work, or make them laugh.
If there was something that you could change about yourself what would it be?
I wish I could communicate with people better, without aggression. I wish I had the wisdom of older people that allows them to get what they want without being aggressive. I’ve gotten used to getting what I want from people using any way that works.
What is life’s greatest lesson to you?
When my sister passed away, my perception towards life and people changed. Seeing a 25 year-old who’s dying from cancer and whose dad has all the money but can’t help her, made me feel like life is too short. I don’t leave anything till tomorrow. When I sleep and wake up, I’m happy that I woke up.
How’s your love life?
You don’t know how much I love my wife, Mai. She was my dream for five years. She’s the person I feel the safest with in the entire world. I don’t need to pretend or put up any faces when I’m around her, unlike what is needed in my domain of work. When you’re good at your job, there are a lot of bad people around you, so you need a place where you feel safe. This is Mai for me.
What are you working on next?
A romantic comedy called A’nteel el Zamalek starring Ahmed Ezz. The movie is currently in pre-production. We’ll begin shooting after Eid.