June 15, 2011

WORLD: Babar Ahmed On Challenges of Global Aging

ATLANTA, Georgia / CNN / In The Arena / June 15, 2011


Babar Ahmed: Challenges of Global Aging
By Jay Kernis, Senior Producer

ONLY ON THE BLOG: Answering today's OFF-SET questions is the award-winning filmmaker Babar Ahmed, who produced the short video "Global Aging" for the International Monetary Fund.

CLICK HERE to see "Global Aging."

In this video, what alarm are you sounding?

Over the next few decades the population over age 60 will grow by one billion to a total of two billion. The proportion of the working population will fall rapidly. This could pose significant financial problems for the world economy.

The consequences of global aging directly affect us, and impact future generations.

I didn’t know the International Monetary Fund made videos like this?

The challenge for international organizations like the IMF is to present their work and concerns in ways that ordinary people can relate to. It is easy to forget that these organizations represent all of us as a world community.

In that sense the more we know about their concerns and the strategies to deal with these concerns, then the more secure we all feel.

How did you get into filmmaking?

My academic background and work experience were in development economics. I completed my graduate degree from King’s College, Cambridge University– the same college John Maynard Keynes studied and taught at. After that, I was lucky to have worked with one of the most renowned economists in the world, Dr Mahbub ul Haq.

Filmmaking had always just been a hobby of mine. But during one particular summer vacation I decided to take a course at the New York Film Academy. This course had a big impact on me. The teachers were inspirational. And I had never been in the presence of so many artists before.

I realized that my outlook on life had been quite limited. I decided to explore this path of filmmaking for a little while longer. I took more advanced courses at New York Universityand at the National Film School in England. Soon after that I decided to pursue filmmaking as a career.

You have made mainstream movies which have been distributed by major studios like Lionsgate – "Royal Kill," for instance, which starred Oscar-nominated actors Pat Morita and Eric Roberts. What is the difference in making a feature film and an IMF video?

The genre and scale are completely different. But I think the fundamental process is the same. In both cases, one needs to start with a powerful idea and convert it to a simple script which connects with the audience.

Steven Spielberg said “Every time I go to the movies it’s magic. No matter what the movie is about.”

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