Adib Kheir was one of the most prominent figures behind quality Syrian drama (musalsalat). He was a passionate TV producer, a great creative person, a talented advertiser.
When I was writing my PHD on Syrian drama I used to bother him many times to ask him millions of questions about TV production in Syria, selling agreements, copyright issues, distribution, the latest hot topics in musalsalat, etc. I would stop by his office and have coffee with him. Or he would invite me for lunch at Shakespeare, one of his favorite places in Damascus. I would ask him to get DVDs of his latest production or to grant me a visit to the set of one of his musalsalat, and he would always say “ahlan w sahlan fiki” (welcome).
Adib was a gentleman. He was kind, human, and was a professional. He loved TV, he loved going to TV markets (we would always jump into each other twice a year at MIP in Cannes) and loved to be in this industry. Maybe not many people know that, but Adib is the one who dubbed Turkish soap operas into Syrian dialect. This was a brilliant idea. Dubbing those soap operas in any other Arabic dialect or, worse, in classical Arabic, would have probably never resulted in a big market boom for Turkish products and, consequently, in the success of those Arab producers who first took the decision to invest into Turkish fiction.
Adib opened this market and had the best dubbing services for musalsalat. He was well respected in the industry and MBC, the most prominent entertainment network in the region, often commissioned him TV work.
He is the producer behind “Amal ma fe” (Hope there isn`t any), a Syrian musalsal directed by Laith Hajjo, a dark comedy featuring two characters in a sort of “Waiting for Godot” surreal atmosphere.
With Sama Art Production, the company he founded with Syrian actor Jamal Suleiman, he produced the first season of the regional success “Daya Daaya” (The forgotten village), directed again by Laith Hajjo who was also a personal friend of Adib`s.
Few weeks after the uprising started in Syria, when many Syrian production companies issued the so-called “bayan al-sharikat” to boycott the actors and actresses who had asked to bring humanitarian support to the city of Daraa, Adib did not sign the petition. He did not want to ostracize his colleagues.
He believed in the profession and loved it. He was passionate about TV production and loved his country, Syria. Last time I saw him in Beirut, he surprised me by bringing me a box of Semiramis sweets, my favorite shop in Damascus. I will never forget this small but so meaningful thing he did for me without being asked. He brought me a piece of Damascus. He knew I loved the city as if it were my city. He was very sensitive about what was happening to his country. He had decided to stay in Syria, to try to keep his business open, despite the challenges and the critical situation, because he knew so many people, his employees and their families, would depend on his company`s survival.
An heart attack took him away from his loved ones today. Allah yarhamo. We will miss you, Adibo.
All the people who had the privilege to work with such a professional and human person will deeply miss Adib Kheir.
a picture of Adib Kheir I took during his visit to Copenhagen, September 2011.