Eggdancer Productions

Eggdancer Productions

The film and television industry – anywhere – is without question male dominated.  But in Saudi Arabia, even a female-owned company had to be managed by a man.  Danya M Alhamrani and Dania Nassief did not want to settle for the status quo, so they faught and won the right to manage their company, Eggdancer Productions.  This independent television production company is seeking to inspire social change and dialogue through media.  Eggdancer took a time out to share their experiences with us.

Dania Nassief
Dania Nassief

Loaded Bow:  Can you tell us a little bit about your story?

Eggdancer Productions:  Eggdancer Productions is an independent film and TV production company based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was founded in 2006 by Danya and Dania. We are not the first female owned production company. However, currently in Saudi Arabia, a production company that is owned by a woman must have a male as the manager. We didn’t want to run our company this way. We own the company and we want to manage it ourselves. So for two years or more we fought for this right and finally were granted it. So we are officially the first production company run by females without the presence of a male.

Danya Alhamrani
Danya Alhamrani

LB:  In addition to the challenges of launching your company as women, you have also spoken about the difficulty of receiving Saudi support. In one interview, Danya describes how foreigners are brought into your country to tell your story. Where do you think this resistance stems from?

EP:  I think there is a lack or trust in the capabilities of local filmmakers as well as an ignorance of their existence in general. To be honest though, we do lack professionals in the field and so locals tend to trust people coming from outside the country to do the job before they would trust someone from here.

LB: You recently worked on an episode on No Reservations in Saudi Arabia, after winning a contest to host the show in your home country. What was this experience like for you?

EP:  It was a wonderful experience hosting Mr Bourdain and his crew in Jeddah. It was a great opportunity to be able to show the world a different side of Saudi Arabia, one they rarely see, the family, friends, fun and food.

Eggdancer Productions

LB: The response to Amy Teuteberg’s blog post about the episode was remarkable. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to represent Saudi women in a certain way?

EP:  We loved Amy’s blog. It was great to hear about the experience, from a Western, non-Muslim woman’s perspective. So often we find that the media portrays us as oppressed and downtrodden based on how we dress, Amy was able to see something else and share it with others through her writing.

In many ways we do feel a responsibility to represent Saudi women. We don’t go out of our way to do anything special, but just by being ourselves and being willing to share that with others we feel that we at least are showing people what and who we are as Saudi women, not what someone’s impression of a Saudi woman is.

LB: Eggdancer is such an interesting name! Does it have a story behind it?

EP:  We wanted a name that would stick with people, something they would remember. There are many meanings to our name but usually when people ask me what it means I ask them back “what does it mean to you?”

LB: How do you select the projects that you work on? Who is your audience?

EP:  We produce documentaries and TV shows that examine social, cultural and religious issues. We choose our projects based on what we find interesting and what we enjoy working on. Our audience is split into two main groups. Our local, Arab, audience and an international audience. Our work differs depending on what audience we are producing for. We believe in using the media to affect social change and are committed to fostering a greater understanding of the people of this region, and to bring their stories to the rest of the world.

LB: What is your vision for Eggdancer? Where would you like to see it go?

EP:  We want to continue the work we love and would like to gain experience and grow as professionals and as a company.

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10 Responses to “Eggdancer Productions”

  1. Eileen Houser Says:

    Hello Danya,

    I saw your episode of “No Reservations”. Have actually watched it twice! You did a great job. I really enjoy that show. As I am interested in Food and Travel and…..

    Love that Anthony Bourdain!

    We are Americans from Washington DC and my husband is currently working in Riyadh as a consultant with the RSAF. He is coming home for Christmas and then I think I am coming over to KSA to visit in January I have been doing research to try and learn more about Saudi Arabia and your episode was great to watch. He lives on a compound and has been having an interesting time there so far. So, just thought I’d write and say “hello”. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you in Jeddah! Keep up the good work. Regards, Eileen

  2. lamyukying Says:

    Hello Danya! greetings from Montreal!

    I decided to take a day off and stayed home for the Chinese New Year. I watched Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations segment on Saudi Arabia and watched more than once! I found it fascinating and I think you did a fabulous job in showing the world a realistic view of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, lifting a veil on lots of preconceived wrong perceptions of your beautiful country.
    I take this opportunity to salute and congratulate you and your associate Dania in managing your own tv/movie enterprise, you are paving the way for other Saudi women to succeed like yourself.
    May Eggdancer Productions reach as far as the rays of the sun will go.
    I have to bid farewell as I feel I’m rambling on as this is my FIRST!
    paul

  3. Jeanette Naugle Says:

    Danya,
    Hello from Edenton, North Carolina!
    I like so many others watched No Reservations and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been trying to find someone that lives in Jeddah to help me. My husband has taken a job in Jeddah and just arrived there. I will be following in about 90 days. I am very apprehensive as to what garments I should wear, the proper head covering, etc. If you have time I hope you will reply back and give me some pointers. I am so excited about coming to Jeddah and want to do what’s proper. Thanks, and hope I will get to hear from you.
    Jeanette

  4. […] Reservations: An Interview with a Female TV Producer A few months ago Loaded Bow interviewed Danya Alhamrani and Dania Nassief of Eggdancer Productions, the first female owned and managed production company in Saudi Arabia.  Danya and Dania had […]

  5. Linda B Says:

    Dear Danya: Thank you for your portrayal of Saudis as real people. I, too, am originally from ND but I taught in both Iran and in Saudi Arabia at the KFU Girl’s medical college in Dammam and I am thrilled when I hear of the changes Saudi women are striving for. Shukran!!!

  6. Thank you to everyone who saw the show and went out of their way to send well wishes. It is highly appreciated.

    Thank you again.

    Danya

  7. saudislike Says:

    Hello Danya,
    As a Saudi I was really proud when I watched the Saudi Arabia episode of No Reservations with the amazing job that you guys did. Since I am a huge fan of the show, I was excited when I heard that Tony is going to Saudi..

    Keep up the good work.

  8. mariam jamjoom Says:

    HEYYYYYY DANYA AND DANIA

    I LOVE YOU GUYS SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH
    U ARE THE BEST AT WHAT U DO
    U ARE MY ROLE MODELS AND I HOPE I SEE U SOON

    LOVE, MEME

  9. Hello Danya,

    How are you? I “No Reservations” in Saudi Arabia today (July 5th, 2010) for the first time. I love it!!! You did a great job. You are an inspiration to all of us. I would love to go to Saudi Arabia and after seeing the show and the way you spoke about your country, I can not wait to go there.

    Wish you all the best!

    Elaine

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