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Art & Life with Jumanah Shaheen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jumanah Shaheen.

Jumanah, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Growing up between the US and Saudi Arabia exposed me to two vastly different cultures. This upbringing was confusing when attempting to grasp the global dynamics of how societies interacted, behaved, grew. With the support of my family and friends, I was fortunate to channel this confusion into inspiration, creating a bridge between these two worlds exists. Realizing words from one part of the world can be misleading to another, guiding my interests towards visual arts.

When my family relocated back to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia there weren’t immediate opportunities for the type of growth I was seeking — mentorship & higher education in the arts was sparse. During this time it pushed me to graduate high school early and apply for a scholarship to study within the US. After graduation and applying at the age of 15, I signed up for business courses until my application was accepted to study Animation & VFX Production in San Francisco.

Once I arrived in San Francisco, I signed up and volunteered for every opportunity in my line of sight. 3D modeling, VFX Makeup, Set design, Scriptwriting, Particle Simulation. I’m always keen on learning as much as I can about all production pipelines; Each experience preparing me for the next. From these opportunities and volunteer work, I was handed a gig alongside my instructor Catherine as a production coordinator & manager on films including Theeb, Fruitvale Station & Advantageous.

Shortly after graduation I moved to Los Angeles to continue working on larger productions. My experiences working with the teams behind Modern Family, Captain America Civil War, Taylor Swift’s Music Video “Look What You Made Me Do” have defined my career, and exposed me to a broad range of the industry. This high level view paired with my work between Saudi and Hollywood has me on a path towards creating a studio of my own for in-house content creation.

Ms. Shaheen is an internationally renowned Visual Effects Producer who has made significant contributions to numerous award-winning feature films and music videos. She has worked as a visual effects coordinator on major motion pictures such as “Fruitvale Station”, the directorial debut of Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) and starring Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) and Melonie Diaz (Charmed). The 2013 film was a runaway hit, earning critically and commercially, winning the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, Satellite Special Achievement Award for Breakthrough Performance Award and the Producers Guild of America Stanley Kramer Award. Other major achievements of Ms. Shaheen include her work on international feature films including THEEB, which won the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut in 2016, as well as Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My process has always been collaborative. I work hand in hand with artists, supporting them in directions they’ll thrive. My understanding of the process and different cultures has instilled empathy towards creators. My art lies within my ability to nurture teams that are always eager to flourish.

Currently my close friends and I are working on producing a web series about our experiences living between Saudi and the US — as well as collaborating with a few talented artists on music videos.

With each project my goal is to express empathy through new perspectives. With these perspectives internally develop a mutual understanding & patience. And hopefully through understanding and patience, comfort zones can be pushed allowing society to grow.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
In regards to animation and vfx, it’s really a double edged sword. New online distribution channels have provided a “level” playing-field for content creators. Producers with small budgets have the ability to reach a massive scale — paired with the ability to learn new techniques and connect with people all over the world; I believe now is a time artists 20 years ago would be dreaming about.

Conditions will always be a variable. Looking at what support Saudi’s have compared to what we have here is just one way to see that we are all presented with a set of different tools; It’s about understanding how to use the right tool for the job, then conditions appear less bleak.

I think providing education on these tools available within communities is important. Teaching others foundational skills and knowledge that leads to successes. Listening and providing opportunities to those seeking and are in need of mentorship and guidance.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have a personal portfolio, Vimeo & IMDB page. Any supported provided by checking out my productions would be greatly appreciated! And don’t hesitate to reach out about any collaborative opportunities in the future

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mousa Ibrahim

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