Eddy Rizk: 'Saudi Arabia has emerged as a rejuvenating source of creativity'
Posted on 2023 Dec,17  | By Ghada Azzi

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BIG KAHUNA FILMS, a creative production house that has a significant presence in the Middle East and is renowned for its high-quality productions, has recently expanded its footprint to Saudi Arabia.

ArabAd talks to Eddy Rizk, the founder and CEO of BIG KAHUNA FILMS, to learn about the main drive behind his strategic move and how he intends to make a difference in this booming creative sector.


Joining the Saudi market at this pivotal time in the expansion of the country is obviously a smart strategic move. What prompted you to expand the agency footprint to Saudi Arabia?

BIG KAHUNA FILMS has consistently been recognized as a pioneering and influential force in the regional film production industry. By establishing a presence in Saudi Arabia, we aim to both contribute to and benefit from the region's growth. This expansion also underscores our ongoing commitment to cultural exchange and the diversification of storytelling, offering our expertise to share the distinctive narratives emerging from this region.

In 2018, when Saudi Arabia opened its doors to the world of tourism, we were invited to produce the "eVisa and Where in the World" launch campaign. Despite having lived in Dubai for 20 years, I was truly amazed. Before this project, I hadn't realized the beauty and diversity this country had to offer.

As the years passed and with each tourism campaign we undertook, we explored new landscapes and stories. Yet, there was much more to discover.

So, while the expansion into Saudi Arabia is indeed a strategic move to extend the footprint of BIG KAHUNA FILMS into this booming creative sector, it's also driven by our passion for contributing to building something meaningful for the future.


What sets your production company apart from competitors in Saudi Arabia?

We have always set higher standards with the films we produce. Entering the market at the right moment was pivotal, a time when the industry is experiencing rapid growth yet remains open to improvement and innovation. What sets us apart from our competitors is our distinctive approach to production, and this uniqueness is clearly evident in the quality of our work.

Saudi Arabia boasts incredible talents. For me, the most significant achievement so far is the remarkable transformation in the cultural landscape. While projects are being built and initiatives are created, what's even more impressive is the rapid, nationwide change in behavior. From improved service and hospitality to a heightened eagerness to work and support change, the transformation has surely exceeded expectations.

Our role today, is to support and empower local talents. This commitment serves as our roadmap for expansion, ensuring that we contribute to and foster the creative growth of the country.


Do you do business in the KSA like in any other regional market or do the challenges vary?

Every market presents its unique challenges, but for us, challenges are secondary.

The global production landscape is currently undergoing a significant shift, but what distinguishes Saudi Arabia is how this transformation is seamlessly integrated with the broader changes the country is going through. For those of us who may have felt a decline in inspiration, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a rejuvenating source of creativity.

The attitude to innovate, to create something distinct, and to break free from the corporate approaches that often limit creativity with rigid guidelines is truly inspiring.

As a result, we are witnessing the rapid progress taking place in this nation, especially within the creative industry, where the potential appears boundless. It is this very sector that is playing a crucial role in shaping perceptions and narrating the ongoing story of transformation and evolution.


Saudi client is believed to be a producer’s dream because of big budgets. Would you agree with that?

Certainly, the allocation of significant financial resources into film and media projects has the potential to enhance production values, attract top-tier talent, and produce visually stunning results. However, it is crucial to recognize that a large budget alone does not guarantee success or quality. The true challenge lies in creating a standout campaign, which requires a combination of creative flair, deep industry insight and expertise, and the experience to ensure that the budget is spent in a way that maximizes on-screen impact.


And where does Saudi "new business” typically come from today (tourism sector, governmental entities, events etc.)?

Saudi Arabia, as part of its Vision 2030 initiative, is actively engaging in numerous mega projects spanning tourism, entertainment, culture, sports, technology, renewable energy, infrastructure, and a lot more. In this context, films and visual campaigns serve as vital tools to communicate and showcase the stories and progress of these various initiatives.

Furthermore, the trend of brands moving their production to Saudi Arabia, in pursuit of cultural relevance and credibility, underscores the country's growing influence and appeal in the global market. This shift not only contributes to the local production industry but also highlights Saudi Arabia's potential as a hub for innovative and cultural media production.


The trend of brands moving their production to Saudi Arabia, in pursuit of cultural relevance and credibility, underscores the country's growing influence and appeal in the global market.


BIG KAHUNA FILMS has consistently participated and sponsored awards festivals and industry events. Do you intend to continue this trend in KSA?

Absolutely. From the very beginning, BIG KAHUNA FILMS has held a commitment to supporting the creative industry. This is evident in the long-standing and fruitful partnership we share with Dubai Lynx, the region's most attended advertising festival.   

Furthermore, our position as the Middle East sponsor for the Immortal Awards amplifies our mission: to champion and uplift the region's creativity on an international stage.

Our recent collaboration with IAA Lebanon on the Hall of Fame ceremony is merely about exposure; it's a genuine reflection of our passion for the industry and a deep recognition of the key figures who mold it.

Turning our gaze to KSA, a market filled with potential and promise, our decision was instant. We recognized the important role of nurturing creative genius and promoting industry networking in the Kingdom. To this end, we're thrilled to announce our sponsorship of the Athar Festival in Riyadh this month.


What is your biggest challenge for 2024? And where do you see Big Kahuna within the Saudi market in the next decade?

It's not about facing challenges; it's about embracing anticipation. A decade from now, when we reflect on this period, we'll look back with pride and gratitude, knowing that we had the opportunity to contribute to a remarkable journey.