MAD Rising Celebrity is an initiative by MAD Celebrity that aims to champion the hottest acting talents in the Arab world. The new division is born to help aspiring Arab acting talents find their rightful place amidst the filmmaking industry, ultimately raising their profile and encouraging their professional development. The talent will enjoy services such as PR and publicity, image consultancy, contract negotiation, role pitching, and brand endorsements.
One of the most internationally recognised figures across the Arab film, media and entertainment sectors, Alaa Karkouti has been a tireless champion of Arab cinema and film culture across the world stage for nearly two decades.
As the co-founder and CEO of MAD Solutions, the Arab world’s most prolific distributor of Arabic film content, Karkouti has expanded the global audience for Arab storytellers by building business and creative relationships across the worldwide industry map. Several landmark co-productions between MENA and countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia have resulted from his energetic advocacy and networking initiatives.
Karkouti’s involvement with Arab entertainment extends beyond the packaging, production, distribution and marketing of feature films, series and shorts. MAD Solutions is also the Arab world’s pre-eminent talent management company, with a mission to nurture and burnish the careers of Arab industry professionals, actors and filmmakers both regionally and globally.
He is also one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) , the networking hub that serves as the gathering point for Arab professionals and their international peers at major events such as Cannes, Berlinale, Venice, Toronto and Locarno. As part of its activities, ACC publishes Arab Cinema Magazine, an English-language quarterly that shines a spotlight on Arab film culture, talents and business. ACC also pioneered the Arab Film Critics’ Awards for Arab cinema - a concept that was also expanded to European cinema too through an annual award presented at the Cairo film festival.
A journalist and magazine publisher by background – one who compiled comprehensive archives on the economics of filmmaking – Karkouti is acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the workings of the Arab film industry, drawing on his years as a business analyst and film critic. His expertise has given him opportunities to serve on panels and juries at film festivals throughout the world.
Alaa Karkouti's participation in the film industry includes a year-round commitment to workshops and seminars at major film festivals, as well as networking sessions held from 2015 to 2020 by the European Film Commission as part of the Arab Cinema Center.
Before co-founding MAD Solutions in 2010 with Maher Diab, Karkouti worked in film distribution, production, and theatre management. He has also served as the publisher for several prominent publications including Good News Cinema and Vodafone Ten Magazine.
As a journalist, Karkouti had the opportunity to cover and interview major movie stars at various film festivals. He has written articles on the Arab film industry for a variety of prestigious publications, such as Forbes Middle East, Variety, and Screen International, and also published the first-ever list of the 50 most powerful people working in the film business across the Arab world.
Maher Diab is the creative beating heart behind MAD Solutions, the company he co-founded and built into the Arab world’s leading distributor of Arabic film content. Combining his celebrated skills as a visual artist with a keen eye for storytelling talent, Diab has been instrumental in turning MAD Solutions into Arab cinema’s most expressive marketing platform in the global marketplace. He has given Arab films and filmmakers a self-confident, colourful identity that smashes through stereotypes and presents them in all their progressive shades and subtle sensibilities.
An acclaimed illustrator, photographer, sculptor and painter, Diab began his career as an art director in the advertising industry. He worked for several years at some of the world’s leading ad agencies – including BBDO, Y&R, and JWT – deploying everything from photo-montage and layout design to digital illustration on behalf of their demanding clientele.
With the creation of MAD Solutions, which he co-founded with Alaa Karkouti in 2010, Diab helped to usher in an exciting, bold new wave for Arab cinema while also elevating MENA’s marginalized entertainment industry to a level comparable to its worldwide counterparts. Central to this was the realization of Arab Cinema Center (ACC), which he conceived in 2015 as a worldwide promotional and networking platform for Arab cinema. Visible at every major film festival and market event on the industry calendar, ACC serves as the global hub for all those around the world with a vested interest in Arab stories and talents. So many landmark co-productions and international collaborations were born out of discussions initiated at the ACC.
Diab has served as a jury member at a number of key film festivals and events, including the BBC Arabic Festival's Feature Documentary Panel, the main competition of the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival, and the Latin Arab International Film Festival.
He recently showcased his artistry with the opening of his first solo exhibition, Beyond Sleep and Wakefulness, at Cairo’s prestigious Zamalek Art Gallery, which was attended by many well-known celebrities and Arab artists.
Kareem Samy is a well-known film marketer that has participated in numerous regional and international film festivals and markets.
He is also the Marketing Director at MAD Solutions, as well as the Manager of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC), which was founded by MAD Solutions with the goal of providing the filmmaking industry with a professional window to connect with counterparts from all over the world through the various events that it organizes, such as networking events to meet with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution.
In his time as a Marketing Manager at MAD Solutions, Samy had the opportunity to be part of several international film festivals and markets, including the Berlin, Cannes, Venice, and Dubai international film festivals.
Now, as MAD Celebrity’s Executive Director, Samy has been handling the publicity of several key celebrities, such as director Marwan Hamed, actresses Shereen Reda, Saba Mubarak, and Menna Shalaby, as well as megastar Yousra.
He has also been involved in many marketing campaigns for blockbuster films, including Jordan's Academy Award-nominated film THEEB, THE BLUE ELEPHANT, BLUE ELEPHANT: DARK WHISPERS, DIAMOND DUST, and many other titles. He collaborated with film production companies such as Film Clinic, New Century Production, Four Star Films, and United Motion Pictures as well.
Furthermore, Samy is a regular at Cartier’s events around the globe, the most recent of which was the Panthère de Cartier event that was held in Dubai alongside several celebrities, such as Yousra, Hend Sabry, and Huda El-Mufti.
He also attended the events of several international brands, including Bvlgari, Dior, and Fendi.