No strangers to the limelight, Joseph Tito, CEO, and Josie Houpt, Vice President and Producer are the creative minds behind the successful production company JEO Productions, as well as a multitude of short films, commercials, and multimedia projects around Canada and Italy. The team are now making a name for themselves in Bahrain.
Joseph and Josie spoke to Perle Magazine about work thus far and their upcoming exciting projects that reveal a new side to life in Bahrain.
Both Joseph and Josie started their careers in Canada and decided to collaborate on artistic projects together after meeting in university. Stemming from different multimedia backgrounds, Joseph who moved from modelling to acting in local Canadian productions and Josie who was studying photography, creative writing and marketing and design, brought their artistic visions together to launch JEO Productions in 2002. Essentially launched to produce emotive and though-provoking content, JEO Productions’ first film was produced in 2003 titled ‘Immortal’, a musical that shed light on the personal struggle of a couple coping with cancer. The film was acclaimed in many short film festivals worldwide, paving the way for JEO Productions to successfully kick off in the global market. JEO Productions then expanded as Joseph decided to open an Italian office in 2004, where he produced the film ‘Windows’ (a short story by Canadian author Timothy Findley turned into a film). It was also in Italy, the production house produced its first ever feature film ‘Balla Che Ti Passa’ (Dance Like No One is Watching), which included choreography by renowned Italian choreographer Silvio Oddi.
The Bahrain office was set up in 2012 by Joseph, who has an unfathomable love for travel, after his visit to the Kingdom and found great opportunities to exercise his skills. Instantly diving into work, JEO Productions started work in Bahrain by collaborating on a feature film project, ‘Dana’.
What makes JEO Productions’ team so strong is the combination of Joseph’s years of experience in the entertainment industry and Josie’s business skills and both their media expertise. Joseph’s career in the entertainment industry spreads over a decade in which he has successfully accomplished producing, directing, acting and screenwriting with eight screenplays to date as well as successfully directing and producing two feature films and four short films. Josie’s business expertise as well as a unique skill set which includes marketing and promotions, computer and technical film skills such as camera and editing has allowed her to position the company successfully and build a strong and dedicated clientele. Together, the two have created a successful video production house that has allowed them to explore and expand artistically as they get to travel and work with various talents, cultures and situations.
Focusing on Bahrain, Joseph and Josie admitted though the Bahraini market was much smaller than that of the Canadian film market, there was more room for growth in Bahrain. With a small talent pool and need for video production services, JEO Productions set out to create artistic content and opportunities whilst teaching and supporting the youth of Bahrain. Finding many talented photographers and videographers, JEO Productions nourished their talent by training them with industry standards. Within the past three years of being in Bahrain, Joseph and Josie now see a rise in the production companies starting in Bahrain, and added “There is an incredible respect and collaborative feeling between film industry professionals in other areas of the world, and we look forward in seeing the industry locally build for future projects, film festivals and more.”
Having worked on several private and public projects in Bahrain already, their new show, ‘Blending In With The Bahrainis’ is perhaps the one creating the most buzz. BIWB is an original concept developed by Joseph and Josie. Since 2012, Joseph met many expat women and heard their stories of what brought them to Bahrain and why they chose to call the Kingdom home and was inspired to develop this project. Josie once arriving in Bahrain, in one of her blog posts about her Bahraini experience, coined the term “Blending in with the Bahrainis”. They worked together in building a series that could promote the Kingdom to the world, as well as highlighting a selection of diverse women who have lived in Bahrain for as long as fifteen years, or as little as two.
Produced over the course of two years, JEO Productions aimed to find a diverse selection of women that varied in age, occupation, connection to the culture, and where they lived in Bahrain. Shot in a docu-reality style, the cast members had to become accustomed to being followed around by camera crew constantly for three months. Produced under the permission of Ministry of Culture, a teaser was shared with a focus group of Bahrainis and government officials and luckily tested well. “The feedback we received was not only interesting but also immense excitement and anticipation in seeing the first season, which has not dissipated. We thank the public for their patience, and look forward to the reviews of season one”, Josie said.
JEO Productions is already in the pre-production stages of another interesting and never-before-explored concept for a television series called ‘Deals in the Desert: Gulf Real Estate is Hotter than Desert Sand’. Season one will be produced in the Fall/Winter of 2015 in Bahrain. The show will look at the real estate market in Bahrain and featuring some of the best brokers on the island trying to sell the hottest properties. For 2016, JEO Productions aims to focus on this GCC-based show as well as another show, which will be shot in the United States of America.
Both Joseph and Josie also encourage those who wish to work with them or have an idea they would like to see developed to reach out to them. Watch this space for more updates on the exciting, inspiring projects by JEO Productions.
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