Master storyteller tells inspiring tale

Image Credit: UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

Image Credit: UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

Renowned animator, Mohammed Harib, famed for the 3D cartoon series Freej, is telling a different story now, and its one he hopes will encourage more people to take their own path in life.

When the 35-year-old  developed the idea that led to the Freej animated cartoon series, Mohammed Harib wanted to give the rest of the world a taste of the Middle East and its culture.

Now it’s become so successful its been dubbed the Simpsons of the Middle East and he’s become an inspiration to others hoping to achieve success in creative industries, but his rewards didn’t come without hard work.

Harib began working on Freej when he was an undergraduate, studying arts and animation at Northeastern University in Boston.

“When I was in college, I used to sketch these characters, and my dream was to, one day, hopefully, try to see these characters move,” says Harib.

After graduating he began looking for investors and this continued another three years.

That’s when the Dubai government saw its potential and backed him to the tune of $1.3 million dollars.

Image Credit: UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

When Freej began airing in 2006, it was a triumph for the individual but just as much for Dubai itself, telling the story of four elderly women living in modern day Dubai, and their view on the transformation of society.

Creative success has led to commercial success with merchandising including toy action figures, books and magazines.

Its animated characters are even being hired for advertising endorsements.

It’s a clear case of him finding success by choosing to follow his passion.

The only advice he can give is to be determined and courageous in pursuing one’s dreams.

“Going your own road, and doing your own thing, is a very hard road. But it’s a beautiful road whenever you reach towards the end of it,” says Harib.

“I really encourage everybody who has the strength and the mind and the capacity and the belief in himself to walk that road, to go for it, because that’s how you will be remembered in this world, because not everybody can create this kind of journey for himself.”

Now the series is being broadcast in English, Harib hopes there’s no limit to its reach, but he’s not standing still waiting for success to come to him.

He’s currently working on his first animated film, which is expected to wrap in November.

Originally on Emirates News 7 June 2013.

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