saudi video director, mo ali, takes over london scene

November 29, 2010

27-year-old Saudi born, Mo Ali might as well have changed his name to Mr Grime Video Director. During the last five years Ali has shot over 65 music videos for the likes of Chipmunk, Jammer, Plan B, Roll Deep, Skepta and Tinchy Stryder since he made his first back in 2004 for Lethal B’s “POW/Forward Riddim” while still working as an unpaid runner. A lot of those guys have gone from from playing east London clubs to international stardom. This year saw the release of Ali’s first feature film, the dystopian gang thriller Shank. It fast-forwards to a London suffering a huge crimewave in the year 2015.

Saudi video director, Mo Ali, takes over London scene



Being born in Saudi Arabia and raised in east London must’ve given you a weird viewpoint on the world.
Mo Ali: I think the whole family was expecting to see the Queen walking around doing stereotypically English things. We were all a bit like: What the fuck is this?

So, your first video was Lethal B’s “Pow”?
Yeah. I was working as a runner and had to film nine or ten artists to make it happen. It took about two weeks to make. It was pretty crazy, I had to borrow equipment from everyone I knew. The video ended up being number one on the UK Music Video Charts for about 11 months.

Behind the scenes of Ali’s video, “When the Sky Falls”

Why do you think you were so successful so quickly?
I didn’t just do the usual urban video clichés, I thought outside of the box, it wasn’t just all girls asses, you know?

Video trailer for Ali’s 2010 film, Shank

How do you develop your ideas and concepts?
Listen to the track endlessly, I even play it all night while I’m sleeping, so the unconscious works on it. I start dreaming about it and then in the morning I normally know what I want to do with the video.

Why music videos?
Well, I knew it was a good way into a lot of things and also a good place to learn and do a lot quite quickly. I knew I wanted to make films and be a film director, and I knew music videos were a great way of getting into making feature films.