Jamal is the force behind Barajoun Entertainment, the Dubai-based leading animation and visual effects studio dedicated to the MENA region, which he set up in 2013 in pursuit of his dream: to tell the untold epic stories of the forgotten heroes from this region to the rest of the world.
A passionate storyteller, Jamal directed the first UAE-produced full animation feature film, Bilal. Released in 2016, Bilal is set in 7th-century Arabia and tells the story of an African slave who wins freedom and becomes a great warrior. British actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was the voice of the titular character, while Deadwood star Ian McShane was also among the voice cast.
It garnered worldwide recognition, winning the Best Inspiring Movie on the Animation Day during the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Best Feature Film. It was also nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), the region’s highest accolade for film. It was also screened at the United Nations headquarters in New York in 2017. Moreover, Bilal was included in the list of the “100 best animated feature films of all time” by USA Today and featured as one of “the best movies of 2018 as selected by IMDB users. In 2016, Variety magazine named Jamal as one of the top 10 Arab filmmakers in the world.
Barajoun Entertainment is now working on a second animated feature – a musical, which will also focus on a regional, historical story of an epic musician in a medieval setting in Spain. Meanwhile, Jamal continues to pursue his dream of producing stories that impart values, inspire and bring life-changing experiences to various generations.