In today’s rapidly evolving information age, it is pretty obvious to state that the media plays an enormous role, more than ever before, in creating certain truths and shaping public opinion. From social media to advanced technology, there is much out there that can be used to infiltrate the minds of the masses.
If this is so, why haven’t Muslims — who have been painted with many unfair generalizations in recent times — stepped up in the media-sphere? This is a question very few, namely those behind Studio FSA, beg to ask.
As a youth-led studio dedicated to providing professional audio, film, and photography resources, alongside skill-based lessons to Muslims and the general public in the fields of media and the arts, Studio FSA fills a much-needed gap in the Muslim market. More than just a platform for unique talent, Studio FSA also aims to create content that Muslims can relate to — from music videos to short films to lecture series, and more.
Co-founded by Seif Youssef and Mohammed Zeyara, Studio FSA first began on a whim for personal development.
“In high school, Zeyara decided he wanted to begin working on his public speaking, so he conducted a few khutbahs and gave a few talks. At the same time, I got a camera as a gift from my grandmother,” says Youssef. “We eventually started making videos for YouTube and surprisingly got positive feedback and comments from our viewers.”
When their hard work was more established, they decided to take further action.
“From there, we branched off into getting a physical space that we thought would centralize all the talented individuals in the community,” says Youssef. This space, located in Oakville, serves as a community hub for creative individuals with state of the art equipment. However, this very space is also the reason for why the studio needs extra funds.
“The issue was that it was costing us over a thousand dollars a month to run the place. At that moment, the team and I looked at each other and realized we wouldn’t be able to pay it for very long,” said Mostafa Soliman, Finance Director of the Studio.
Hence, on January 18, Studio FSA decided to hold their very first fundraising dinner in Mississauga at Payal Banquet Hall. With big dreams and good intentions, their event turned out a success. Nazim Baksh, well-known CBC News Producer and Muslim pioneer in the field of Canadian media, was their keynote speaker.
Baksh, in praise of the effort, said how he “appreciate[d] that Studio FSA is using the creative talents of the youth in an attempt to create an effective counter-narrative to the dominant negative perception of Islam and Muslims.”
However, with a fundraising goal of $50,000 to pay for equipment and facility costs, Studio FSA still has ways to go. As Youssef ensures, they are on their way to getting there — and their exciting new projects still in the works (with an upcoming series featuring Salman Al-Oudah) will definitely help speed up the process.
“The sky is the limit. There is really no limit in how high we are willing to push it, inshaAllah. It is really up to the community as well to stand by us and believe in us,” says Soliman. “Personally, I’m excited to see the new talents that Muslims have.”
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