A Wild Retrospective

September 5, 2023
//
Culture
quotation mark

Celebrating a decade of Wild Media has founders Hattie Bowering and Dalia Penzik reflecting back on their heady experiences of curiously dissecting, fervently gobbling and heavily ideating arts and culture in and for the region (Middle East & South Asia).


We started making films about the cultural scene in the UAE well before setting up Wild Media. The Saadiyat Island project was featured as the closing scene of Hattie’s Emmy award winning, Mona Lisa Curse (Channel 4, dir: Mandy Chang), where art critic Robert Hughes mused about a significant cultural shift to the east. And, I remember filming the Saadiyat Island launch ceremony with all the star-chitects Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Tadao Ando and we’ve continued from there, extending our map as we go.’ Dalia Penzik


Wild Media have been – and continue to be – a major supportive player in the industry. They’ve been on the UAE art scene since the early days, and have been instrumental in helping build audiences for art in the wider region and showcasing its dynamism to the world.


Wild Media have worked with the good and the great both regional and international, from Abdullah Al Saadi, Mohammed Ibrahim, Christo, Isaac Julien, Christian Jankowski, Sultan Al-Qassemi, Manal Al Dowayan, Subodh Gupta, Ahmed Mater, Ayman Zedani, Antonia Carver, Rami Farook, Sunny Rahbar, Sheikha Al Ketbi, Noor Al Suwaidi and Shaikha Al Mazrou. The list goes on and on.

Three people talking with trees in the background


It can often seem like we’ve filmed with everyone in the regional cultural sphere, but the beauty of this game is the more the creative talent is supported, the more talent sprouts. It’s a forever expanding story, absolutely fascinating to be on the sidelines of it.’ says Hattie.


Working with museums, cultural institutions and broadcasters, Wild Media continues to find new ways to engage audiences with the cultural stories of the region and beyond, whether through broadcast documentary, artist projects, exhibition films or digital content.


‘We don’t stop pitching cultural content to our broadcaster and streaming pals, determined to get more serious programming from the region out there, we’ve even got a feature documentary sat on the shelf at BBC, an unfortunate victim of politics and culture colliding!’ Hattie Bowering


Here is a potted history of Wild Media:


  • 2017 saw the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Wild Media worked alongside the museum on its pre-launch communications and content, including Birth of a Museum, and partnering up with Art Newspaper for Emirati Voices to interview titans of the UAE including HE Zaki Nusseibeh, HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak and Noura Al Kaabi where each championed an artwork from the collection.
Louvre building
  • This relationship has continued with many broadcast documentaries featuring Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibitions, such as Luxury Through the Ages, presented by Alastair Sooke and the still to be released Arab Renaissance that explores the politics of culture in the region.
Two woman talking in dessert
  • Sir Isaac Julian’s Playtime: Capital was filmed across Oslo, London, New York, Shanghai and Dubai. It is an amazingly articulate visual feat that has screened at the MoMa and in Times Square, and continues to tour internationally. Wild Media worked with Isaac to script, cast and shoot the Dubai material that included an incredible performance from Filipino actress, Mercedes Cabral, access to the penthouse of Index Tower, the Dubai Stock Exchange and the mean streets of Satwa, bleeding their neon in full 8K.
3 big movie screens with film playing
  • Wild Media makes it their business to understand cultural nuances and the fine balance needed when filming in the region, especially with challenging artist projects. There have been a whole host of upbeat and bonkers projects that capture the heart and soul of the region. Top of the list has got to be the experimental film The Eye of Dubai, that followed contemporary artist Christian Jankowski and his crew as they explored Dubai, blindfolded, determined to get underneath the surface of the place. The filming ran into many comedy obstacles including amorous encounters with leopards and the local CID following the teams’ every step, concerned they were witnessing the weirdest hostage situation ever.
Blindfolded film crew on a beach
  • Wild Media has worked with the pioneering artist space Tashkeel for over a decade, producing artist profile films for their ever evolving artist and design programmes. This partnership has proven to be a stellar testing bed for new director talent like Sarah Dahab whose film on artist in residence Alonsa Guevara, secured her spot in Wild Media’s talent pool.
  • Wild Media produced Art: Interrupted in 2012 – a feature documentary from the frontlines of India’s first contemporary art biennale. The highly entertaining film tells an against the odds story about art and includes Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Mater and India’s Sheela Gowda and Subodh Gupta. The film continues to screen at art festivals and museums around the world.
  • Wild Media partnered with Free the Work back in 2017 to advocate for more opportunity and inclusion for creatives working in advertising in and from the region.
  • Their ongoing BBC World series, Artists of the Middle Eastfeatures short documentaries on the most interesting creative talent across the region, from Shaikha Al Mazrou to Ayman Zedani and eL Seed.
  • Putting community engagement front and centre, several iterations of Abu Dhabi Art were documented as they took the experience of the fair beyond and into the city. Covering their extensive programming, Wild Media filmed behind the scenes, interviewed artists, dealers, patrons and produced several series of films that showcase the cultural developments of Abu Dhabi and the build up to the opening of the museums at Saadiyat Island.
  • The UAE firmly took its place on the cultural world stage, when, a decade ago, it first participated at the ‘Olympics’ of the art world – the Venice Biennale. And, in 2021, the National Pavilion won the Gold Lion for ‘Wetland’ curated by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto. Wild Media chronicled this right of passage for the region in the celebatory film UAE in Venice.
  • In 2018, world-renowned artist Christo created his first public work in the UK. In collaboration with IWC, BBC and The Serpentine, Wild Media co-produced the artist’s last documentary, Christo & Jean Claude - Monumental Art, which included his final pitch for his epic Mastaba project planned for the desert outside Abu Dhabi.
Man standing in front of red, pink and blue building

To document the monumental cultural growth across the region over the past half century is a near impossible task, but Wild Media’s work to capture and amplify the region’s rich cultural offerings has been far-reaching and all-embracing. They’ve been a formidable force in building audiences and community. Here we’ve highlighted only a snippet, but they leave no room for question: culture exists everywhere.

Article by Stevie Cannell for Mothership

A Wild Retrospective

September 5, 2023
//
Culture
quotation mark

Celebrating a decade of Wild Media has founders Hattie Bowering and Dalia Penzik reflecting back on their heady experiences of curiously dissecting, fervently gobbling and heavily ideating arts and culture in and for the region (Middle East & South Asia).


We started making films about the cultural scene in the UAE well before setting up Wild Media. The Saadiyat Island project was featured as the closing scene of Hattie’s Emmy award winning, Mona Lisa Curse (Channel 4, dir: Mandy Chang), where art critic Robert Hughes mused about a significant cultural shift to the east. And, I remember filming the Saadiyat Island launch ceremony with all the star-chitects Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Tadao Ando and we’ve continued from there, extending our map as we go.’ Dalia Penzik


Wild Media have been – and continue to be – a major supportive player in the industry. They’ve been on the UAE art scene since the early days, and have been instrumental in helping build audiences for art in the wider region and showcasing its dynamism to the world.


Wild Media have worked with the good and the great both regional and international, from Abdullah Al Saadi, Mohammed Ibrahim, Christo, Isaac Julien, Christian Jankowski, Sultan Al-Qassemi, Manal Al Dowayan, Subodh Gupta, Ahmed Mater, Ayman Zedani, Antonia Carver, Rami Farook, Sunny Rahbar, Sheikha Al Ketbi, Noor Al Suwaidi and Shaikha Al Mazrou. The list goes on and on.

Three people talking with trees in the background


It can often seem like we’ve filmed with everyone in the regional cultural sphere, but the beauty of this game is the more the creative talent is supported, the more talent sprouts. It’s a forever expanding story, absolutely fascinating to be on the sidelines of it.’ says Hattie.


Working with museums, cultural institutions and broadcasters, Wild Media continues to find new ways to engage audiences with the cultural stories of the region and beyond, whether through broadcast documentary, artist projects, exhibition films or digital content.


‘We don’t stop pitching cultural content to our broadcaster and streaming pals, determined to get more serious programming from the region out there, we’ve even got a feature documentary sat on the shelf at BBC, an unfortunate victim of politics and culture colliding!’ Hattie Bowering


Here is a potted history of Wild Media:


  • 2017 saw the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Wild Media worked alongside the museum on its pre-launch communications and content, including Birth of a Museum, and partnering up with Art Newspaper for Emirati Voices to interview titans of the UAE including HE Zaki Nusseibeh, HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak and Noura Al Kaabi where each championed an artwork from the collection.
Louvre building
  • This relationship has continued with many broadcast documentaries featuring Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibitions, such as Luxury Through the Ages, presented by Alastair Sooke and the still to be released Arab Renaissance that explores the politics of culture in the region.
Two woman talking in dessert
  • Sir Isaac Julian’s Playtime: Capital was filmed across Oslo, London, New York, Shanghai and Dubai. It is an amazingly articulate visual feat that has screened at the MoMa and in Times Square, and continues to tour internationally. Wild Media worked with Isaac to script, cast and shoot the Dubai material that included an incredible performance from Filipino actress, Mercedes Cabral, access to the penthouse of Index Tower, the Dubai Stock Exchange and the mean streets of Satwa, bleeding their neon in full 8K.
3 big movie screens with film playing
  • Wild Media makes it their business to understand cultural nuances and the fine balance needed when filming in the region, especially with challenging artist projects. There have been a whole host of upbeat and bonkers projects that capture the heart and soul of the region. Top of the list has got to be the experimental film The Eye of Dubai, that followed contemporary artist Christian Jankowski and his crew as they explored Dubai, blindfolded, determined to get underneath the surface of the place. The filming ran into many comedy obstacles including amorous encounters with leopards and the local CID following the teams’ every step, concerned they were witnessing the weirdest hostage situation ever.
Blindfolded film crew on a beach
  • Wild Media has worked with the pioneering artist space Tashkeel for over a decade, producing artist profile films for their ever evolving artist and design programmes. This partnership has proven to be a stellar testing bed for new director talent like Sarah Dahab whose film on artist in residence Alonsa Guevara, secured her spot in Wild Media’s talent pool.
  • Wild Media produced Art: Interrupted in 2012 – a feature documentary from the frontlines of India’s first contemporary art biennale. The highly entertaining film tells an against the odds story about art and includes Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Mater and India’s Sheela Gowda and Subodh Gupta. The film continues to screen at art festivals and museums around the world.
  • Wild Media partnered with Free the Work back in 2017 to advocate for more opportunity and inclusion for creatives working in advertising in and from the region.
  • Their ongoing BBC World series, Artists of the Middle Eastfeatures short documentaries on the most interesting creative talent across the region, from Shaikha Al Mazrou to Ayman Zedani and eL Seed.
  • Putting community engagement front and centre, several iterations of Abu Dhabi Art were documented as they took the experience of the fair beyond and into the city. Covering their extensive programming, Wild Media filmed behind the scenes, interviewed artists, dealers, patrons and produced several series of films that showcase the cultural developments of Abu Dhabi and the build up to the opening of the museums at Saadiyat Island.
  • The UAE firmly took its place on the cultural world stage, when, a decade ago, it first participated at the ‘Olympics’ of the art world – the Venice Biennale. And, in 2021, the National Pavilion won the Gold Lion for ‘Wetland’ curated by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto. Wild Media chronicled this right of passage for the region in the celebatory film UAE in Venice.
  • In 2018, world-renowned artist Christo created his first public work in the UK. In collaboration with IWC, BBC and The Serpentine, Wild Media co-produced the artist’s last documentary, Christo & Jean Claude - Monumental Art, which included his final pitch for his epic Mastaba project planned for the desert outside Abu Dhabi.
Man standing in front of red, pink and blue building

To document the monumental cultural growth across the region over the past half century is a near impossible task, but Wild Media’s work to capture and amplify the region’s rich cultural offerings has been far-reaching and all-embracing. They’ve been a formidable force in building audiences and community. Here we’ve highlighted only a snippet, but they leave no room for question: culture exists everywhere.

Article by Stevie Cannell for Mothership

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