Rima Naim’s Path to Success as a Woman in the Middle East

Filmmaker Rima Naim
Filmmaker Rima Naim

Rima Naim grew up in the Middle East, in a part of the world where women working outside of the home is not common, and women successfully working in film are virtually unheard of.  Rima was born in Lebanon but primarily grew up in Saudi Arabia. As a young child, her parents would show her films, giving her a glimpse into worlds she could only dream about. It was this ability to transport the audience to a different place and to a different time that planted the idea in her mind of becoming a filmmaker herself, despite the huge social challenges she would face as a female filmmaker.    With a massive amount of determination, and by tapping into her great talent, Rima became a top-notch producer in a male-dominated industry, within societies that don’t traditionally support women working outside of the home.

Rima’s early foray in the film and television industry was with the prestigious company Made in Saudi Films where she worked as a producer and director on more than six productions, including directing over 30 episodes of the television show Ikea: 30 Bedroom Makeovers.  While her success as both a producer and director cemented her interest in the film and television industry, she still faced the difficulties of a woman leading men in the media industry.  However, Rima remained steadfast in pursuing her dream; she wasn’t going to let anything stop her.

Rima drew this inspiration to challenge these social pressures by working alongside some of the best directors in the Middle East, including MazenFayad Farah Assaf and Ali Maasarani.  Rima has worked on numerous music videos, television commercials, episodic television and both short and feature-length films. She has directed almost 10 short films and is working on developing the script for her next feature film. Rima’s credits – mostly as a director – in the music video genre are quite impressive.  The music videos she has worked on have totaled more than 11 million views online – including the song Aa Bali Habibiby Lebanese pop superstar and current X-Factor Middle East Judge, Elissa, which has garnered more than 9 million views on YouTube; the video for the song Broken Dreams by IrsonKudikova, with more than 1 million views on YouTube; and the video for the song With Us or Against Us by Jay Mo, which has over 800,000 views.  Rima has translated this success in the music video realm into film as well.  She worked on the film Napkins, which  was hugely successful on several film festival fronts.

Establishing herself as a successful female professional in this industry, starting out in the male-dominated societies in the Middle East,wasn’t an easy job for Rima, but she struggled against all the odds to achieve the dreams she had as a little girl.  She hope that not only does her creative work inspire others, but that her perseverance inspires as well.