Celebrating Green Crew Heroes! - An Interview with S.A. El Khorazati
INFO: Green The Bid Crew Heroes is a series that highlights individuals who bring sustainable practices to any area of the production process, and seek to inspire others to do the same. Production can’t happen without all crew-members (both on set and off), and the same is true of their support of Green The Bid.
GTB: Tell us a little about your background, your role at The Talkies and its sustainability practices?
S.A.E.K.: I embarked on my career journey at a remarkably young age, participating in my first shoot when I was only 14 years old. From the very beginning, I found myself captivated by the world behind the camera. Over time, I gained valuable experience by working in various departments within the industry. Afterward, I transitioned to the agency side for a couple of years. However, I eventually realized that my true passion lay in production itself—being actively involved in bringing ideas to life. With this realization, I started afresh in the role of an assistant producer. Now, after 12 years of continuous growth and dedication, I have assumed the position of Managing Director and Executive Producer at The Talkies, located in Cairo.
We are very keen to have the best practices when it comes to sustainability – 5 years ago we stopped printing ppm documents, we have a zero-plastic policy in our office, and when it comes to the shoot, we always make sure that most of what we use is recycled. For example, any set construction material is always properly dismantled, and the material is either sold to the art director to be reused in other projects or sold to local wood dealers that specialize in the recycling of used wood.
When it comes to wardrobe, we always have clear deals with our stylist that we only buy from stores that will allow the return of the items to be resold again, and if the items are over used and won’t be returned we have two options: either the items are sold to the stylist to be part of her warehouse, or the items are added to our small wardrobe storage to be used in other productions.
In general, we try our best to recycle as many elements as possible, and the good thing about Egypt is the recycling industry here is very big and the culture of single use is not big. Nothing is used for one time – everything gets used over and over again
GTB: Where are you based, and how has that influenced your perspective on environmentalism?
S.A.E.K.: I am based in Cairo, Egypt. Living in a city like Cairo, which lacks cleanliness, has prompted me to contemplate ways in which we can create a cleaner and healthier world. I believe that even small actions by individuals can have a significant impact. Change begins with one person taking action, and over time, others observe and emulate these actions. As an illustration, four years ago, I began bringing glass containers to the supermarket when purchasing cheese and cold cuts. I requested that the seller use these containers instead of single-use foam or plastic plates. Initially, they were perplexed, but eventually, they established a system for customers who followed suit. People inquired about my motivation, and some of them were inspired to adopt the same practice. This is how meaningful change occurs, just as it did for me when I witnessed a friend doing the same.
GTB: Tell us about your love of nature and animals.
S.A.E.K.: Well, my love for nature and animals could take hours and hours to talk about, but it all started with a visit to Sinai Egypt when I was 20 yrs old. Sinai is a magical place in Egypt where everything is raw and native, it’s a spiritual place, as we call it in Egypt it’s the “land of the prophets.” Back then, electricity was only available for four hrs a day, we stayed in huts on the beach – the eco-friendly living is a lifestyle: You cook your own food, you enjoy nature without the influence of technology or the busy life of the city, going on desert trips, and staying in the desert for days.
Seeing the raw beauty of nature changes your life, nature is where I go to find myself, reconnect with life, and find my peace. And to make that happen I learned that you have to respect nature and preserve it. I met a person on my first trip to Sinai and he told me, “our rule is always to leave the place cleaner than when we came.’’ And since that day whenever I am on the beach or in the desert I always clean before I leave and when people see you do that, they do the same.
As for the animals, well that started at a young age. We were always an animal-loving family, and I grew up always having an animal in the house – cats, dogs, pigeons, and even a falcon at a certain point. I was raised to love animals and rescuing animals was a big part of our life. At a certain point I had seven dogs and a cat! My dad once rescued an injured pigeon, and we kept her till she learned to fly again. My parents have two blind cats that live in their house, our dog is considered a son not a dog, and my parents always say, “we can’t wait to see our grandchildren (speaking about the dog).” My ex-wife was a huge animal activist and rescuing animals was a daily thing for us. So, animals were always a part of life and my love for them can’t be explained with words, they are always considered as my kids not animals we raise.
GTB: What are some key environmental considerations you wish all production service companies would put into practice?
S.A.E.K.: There are several actions we can take to benefit the environment. First, we should cease using plastic and increase our consciousness of our carbon footprint. Additionally, embracing remote attendance practices can be beneficial. However, what I am particularly enthusiastic about, and I hope others share this sentiment, is the idea of enhancing our efficiency in calculating our carbon footprint and actively engaging in tree planting to offset it. Since we inevitably leave a carbon footprint, the most viable solution is to compensate for it by planting trees and fostering plant growth.
GTB: If you didn’t do what you do now, is there another job in the industry or otherwise that you’d do? Why?
S.A.E.K.: To be honest, if I were not pursuing my current occupation, I would not have any interest in other jobs within the same industry. Ever since I was a child, my true aspiration has been to engage in humanitarian work exclusively focused on Africa. The devastating impact of wars, exploitation of resources by the West, and the history of colonization over the past century have left African countries significantly disadvantaged compared to the rest of the world. Being directly involved in grassroots efforts has always been my ultimate goal. In fact, during my youth, I made attempts to join the UN volunteering program, but the challenging requirements discouraged me, leading me to redirect my passion towards volunteering in Egypt whenever possible, which helped fulfill a part of my desire to contribute.
GTB: Who is a hero to you?
S.A.E.K.: Well, my hero is my mom, she is the strongest person I have ever met, and everything I learned in life came from her.
GTB: Why did you decide to join Green The Bid?
S.A.E.K.: In order to deepen my understanding of how I can contribute further to our planet, I am eager to explore ways to enhance the environmental friendliness of my work practices. Additionally, I am keen on learning from the experiences of others who have successfully maintained the cleanliness of our planet. It is crucial to take swift action, as failure to do so may render our planet inhospitable for human life. History has repeatedly demonstrated that Mother Nature prevails; it possesses an inherent ability to regenerate and restore itself. If we do not take necessary steps, nature will restore balance by eliminating our presence.
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