Industry: Arts and entertainment
Freej rapidly become a cult cartoon phenomenon when it first aired back in 2006. Featuring four Emirati grandmothers grappling with Dubai’s speedy transition into modernity, the show has now run for eight seasons, and has been described as the Arabic version of ‘The Simpsons’.
Dubai’s Mohammed Saeed Harib came up with the concept while studying at Northeastern University in Boston, before spending three years pitching it to potential backers. He founded Lammtara Pictures in 2005, which produced the show. From billboards, to flydubai’s in-flight safety video, and even to live stage shows, Freej’s characters are a common sight around the Gulf. Next up for Harib, alongside a new series of Freej, is a show called Mandoos, which aims to teach children about local history, culture and their Arabic heritage. He has also worked on an animated adaptation of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, and is helping with an Arabic language comedy feature for Abu Dhabi’s Image Nation.