Red Carpet Productions is a television production company with a distinguished track record in the field of magazine programme production. The close-knit team is composed of highly creative individuals who share a commitment to producing a first-rate product. The members include researchers, scriptwriters, production assistants, directors and some of the finest editors and camera-crew in the industry.
The founder and driving force behind the company is theatre and television personality, Saira Essa. Saira’s life and career has been dominated by single-minded determination: not merely to survive, not only to succeed - but above all, to remain true to herself. Her courage and ability to state her case manifested themselves at high school, when she won debating and public speaking awards and with her flair for rhetoric it was no surprise that after leaving school she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Private Law.
But drama remained her first love and she went on to complete an Honours Degree in Drama, specialising in People’s Theatre. During this time she also became a Licentiate of the Trinity College of London. Throughout the struggle era of the eighties, Saira used theatre as a weapon against oppression. But this was not mere ‘struggle theatre’ with a message being conveyed by any means possible – each production was mounted according to Saira’s high aesthetic and professional standards, allowing both the company and the audience to take pride in the work. In 1982 she won the ‘Durban Critics Circle Award’ and in 1987 her efforts received recognition in the form of the Johannesburg Star’s ‘Women of the Year Award’ for ‘outstanding commitment and contribution to relevant theatre’.
The beginning of the nineties marked the dawn of a new era for South Africa – and a career change for Saira, when she began producing material for the South African national broadcaster (SABC) and a pay-channel (M-Net). Moving from theatre to the electronic media was by no means easy, but as always she rose to the challenge, producing incisive documentaries on a variety of hard-hitting topics as well as entertaining and informative travelogues on India, Taiwan, Israel, Dubai and the United States. In 1995 she hosted a breakfast talk show before switching her attention to the production of television magazine programmes.
The production team’s first series, entitled Chill Out, was followed by Instyle and then Eastern Mosaic, a highly successful series focusing on eastern culture throughout the world and featuring fashion, food, travel, music and cinema. Africa Within is a more recent addition to the stable, focusing on contemporary African lifestyle. The new-look Eastern Mosaic celebrated its sixth year on air in November 2006, and by 2007 Africa Within was into its fifth season – firmly establishing the company as a leading exponent of the lifestyle magazine show genre.
His unassuming nature and inherent modesty belie the key role played by Mark Corlett in the Red Carpet success story. As a co-producer and production manager, Mark has travelled throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, guiding and facilitating the production process under often taxing conditions in exotic locations. The production team relies heavily on Mark’s managerial input and support, allowing the presenters and camera crews to focus on creative quality. Even when covering major events such as the annual International Indian Film Academy Awards, Mark’s cool-headed professionalism ensures that the best possible material returns to South Africa – within budget and on schedule.
As a member of “Red Carpet Productions”, Imraan Vagar’s involvement with Eastern Mosaic goes beyond merely presenting the show – his creative impetus has driven the new incarnation of Eastern Mosaic. As creative director, he took on the task of revamping the decade-old series prior to it’s relaunch - developing a new format, updating the programme’s content to make it more contemporary and relevant, designing new studio sets and graphics, and injecting the show with a more youthful presentation style. He currently oversees and participates in every step of the show’s production, including Programme Packaging, Audio Final Mix, Voice-over and Styling.