Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CV of Allal El Alaoui 2014

Blake Snyder's daughter in Love Scene

Best Actress Winner Caitlan Harris dazzles
Best Actress Winner Caitlin Harris dazzles as Vivien Leigh
Our thanks to Master Cat! Geoff Harris for this breakdown of the intoxicating 8-minute film that’s piling up well-deserved awards, including Best Short, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress from the 2013 London International Film Festival. And be sure to note the link and password that will allow you to screen the film at the bottom of this blog!
I had to see the short film, Love Scene, for myself. In it, my daughter Caitlin portrays movie star Vivien Leigh. And to look like the actress — best known for her role as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind — she had to wear green contact lenses, dye her hair black, and speak in a slight British accent.
When I saw the film, I was blown away. (And this isn’t just a proud papa talking.) Caitlin had been transformed into Vivien Leigh, who was taking her screen test in 1935 London. But what surprised me as much as the acting and the look of the film was the writing. It was stellar — playful, tragic, and alluring. Love Scene was a mini-movie in eight minutes. In what was essentially one scene — only  seven-and-a-half pages long — there was a three-act structure, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It was if writer/director Bethany Ashton Wolf had channeled Blake Snyder and his 15 Story Beats while writing her short film.
On this website, a couple of years ago, I blogged about using the STC! Story Beats — originally conceived for feature film writing — to structure a TV pilot. And, in another blog on this site, I wrote about how a fiction writer could employ those same beats when writing a novel. This got me to thinking: perhaps the Story Beats could also work in a short film.
I watched the short film again and again (hey, it’s only a little more than eight minutes long!) and even read its script several times (hey, it’s only seven-and-a-half pages long!), and my supposition was correct: Love Scene hits STC! Story Beats. From this one example, we could extrapolate that the Beats could be applied to short films in general in order to make their stories resonate.
Wolf made the film to raise interest and backing for the full-length screenplay she wrote that chronicles the 25-year love affair of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier and is based on the bookVivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh by Alexander Walker.
(Note: Before I break down the short into its Story Beats, it should be mentioned that there was no B Story in this short film [Editor: Some commentators have discovered a B Story; see the Comments below], and the Fun and Games beat occurred much earlier than usual.)
Title: Love Scene
Writer/Director: Bethany Ashton Wolf
Logline: In 1935, a relatively unknown actress takes her first screen test in front of a renowned British film director, only to reveal her need for true love with a famous actor who, tragically, is already married.
Genre: Buddy Love
Sub-Genre: Epic Love, Forbidden Love
Opening Image: Through a Camera Lens, a blonde actress twirling for the camera at a screen test comes into focus. A similar image – blurred that comes into focus – is repeated when main character Vivien Leigh is introduced, signifying the blurred line between art and real life.
Set-Up: Vivien states her situation at home: she’s married to a barrister and, together, they have a daughter who just turned three years old.
Theme Stated: Vivien remarks what she needs: true love with the man she’s supposed to be with… famous actor Laurence Olivier.
Catalyst: Director Basil Dean points out that Olivier and Vivien are married to other people.
Debate: Vivien argues that Olivier and she are meant to be together, that it’s (to use an STC! term) a “journey” she should go on.
Break into Two: Vivien’s goal is to be with Olivier.
Fun and Games: Vivien moves out of her Act One world by calling out Basil for drinking during her screen test and she asks for a dry martini.
Midpoint: Vivien argues that she and Olivier should be together because their love is similar to the love of such Shakespeare characters as Hamlet and Ophelia, Romeo and Juliet, and Antony and Cleopatra.
Bad Guys Close In: Basil points out that Vivien has compared her love for Olivier with Shakespeare’s tragedies.
All Is Lost: Basil’s remark has cut Vivien to the quick. She stands in silence for a brief moment.
Dark Night of the Soul: Vivien agrees with Basil that she and Oliver are “…star-crossed lovers ‘til the end of time.” Tears roll down her cheeks.
Break into Three: Basil wonders if Vivien is acting right now or telling the truth.
Finale: Vivien asks Basil which answer will get her the part.
Final Image (not counting the tag under the closing credits): A close-up of Vivien through the Camera Lens – clearly in focus.
You can watch the short film by selecting this link and using the password: elephantwalk.

11 Comments on “The Love Scene Beat Sheet”

  1. Tom Says:
    Hey Geoff. Congratulations to you and your daughter. It hits the beats for sure. It still amazes me how a good story hits the beats no matter what the length, from the 30 second Pledge spot Blake talks about in Strikes Back to other shorts I have examined myself and posted in previous blogs here at STC (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Vincent, Frankenweenie, Paperman). Lesson: skip or depart from the beats with the greatest caution! Your daughter was wonderful as was the writing and direction. Bravos and bravas all around.
  2. Kieran Says:
    LOVED the 8-minute film!! Your daughter is super talented (and gorgeous, to boot). I would run to see this as a full-length movie and hope it comes out soon!
    I’m no expert, but I wondered–if you look strictly at this short film–if the B story could be the relationship of Vivien to her “handler,” the director. While he’s cajoling forth moments of transcendent beauty, or art, from Vivien, she’s doing the same with him, challenging him to name his directorial vision. The irony is that their dynamic feeds off of references to their flawed humanity, their feet of clay–both wedded to obligation and the lure of escape–and the presence of a hard outer reality neither seems able at this point to dismiss.
    If the theme has to do with star-crossed lovers, then in Vivien’s relationship with the director she’s learning that tragedy, like Scotch or a good dry martini, is best brought out of the shadows and shared with an empathetic friend.
    Don’t mind me…I’m merely riffing here. But it’s so much fun!!!
    Again, congratulations to your daughter and everyone involved–this is going to make a great full-length film.
    TGIF, everyone!!!
    Kieran :-)
  3. Bob W. Says:
    BRAVO to your daughter! The director part was also well acted.
  4. Tom Says:
    Kieran – awesome riff!
    Geoff – do you know what camera they used? It has a great look.
  5. Geoff Harris Says:
    Thanks, Tom, for your kind words regarding my daughter, writer/director Bethany and the project.
  6. Geoff Harris Says:
    Kieran, I love your riffing! And I think you’re on to something (not on something) with the relationship between actress and director constituting the B-story. And, as I said to Tom, thanks for your kind words!
  7. Bob Conder Says:
    It always amazes me when we are sucked in to the story so fast, and then hang-on leaning forward in our seats for the next beat. Kieran, I agree with you about the B-story. The fun part is how he is insistent on having the truth and then does not know if it is there or not.
    Thinking about identifying with the characters; all women want to be beautiful, all men want to be the center of the beautiful woman’s attention. Alas most of us are the assistant, watching it play out before us and believing we are part of the story.
  8. Tom Reed Says:
    Geoff — can you ask your daughter what camera it was shot on and post it here? Thanks.
  9. Eva Lefoy Says:
    *applause* yes you can even hit the story beats in a 5-minute film. But in a written short story you have to compress – a lot – or skip ahead. Some of these beats are only one line long and are helped by the visual aspect of film. Good job
  10. Kylie Jacobs Says:
    Just watched the short film and thought is was very well done indeed!! She is gorgeous and that last line was perfect!! He he….
    While I am able to get a message to you, I might add that I am a mother with 4 young children and I love to write screenplays. I get very good feedback from my ideas and LOVE anything to do with movies. I also wanted to add that I am almost finished your book – Save The Cat! – and I am only wishing I had this before I started writing. I am excited though, to see that my concept/s have not been a waste of time as many are seeming to tick all the boxes!
    I am reorganising my ‘Board’ and locking down my next title and logline.
    Thank you Thank you Thank you for your wonderful advice… It’s the only book I need!!!
    Just need to figure out how to get my screenplays in front of someone who can open doors! It’s not easy when you are living in suburbia in Southern Australia. Let me know if you have any advice!
    Kylie Jacobs
    South Australia
  11. Bethany Ashton Wolf Says:
    Thank you all for your gracious and kind words. It was both a cinematic and personal pilgrimage, and I credit the entire production, cast, and crew to its success. Caitlin Harris is an extraordinary talent. It was pure joy to work with her on this. Tom, to answer your question, we shot on the Red Scarlet…ironically and poetically apropos, of course!
  12. allal el alaoui Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    i love this shortfilm as i like the book of Blake Snyder. It is a joy to watch this film espescially its heavy lighting and the acting is brilliant of Blake ‘daughter

Add a Comment

LOVE SCENE the short from Bethany Ashton Wolf on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Khalid Akalai's new book called Cinema and Roots

Khalid Akalai the golden literary Tetuani boy has done it again .He has recently written a book called - Cinema and Roots- Khalid is not only fond of literature but he also loves movies .He is indeed a passionate man who loves films and its roots that means cinema.CCM has praised his short story called -The Step - a story about the history of Morocco from the fourties of the Twentieth century up to now.Khalid and Allal EL Alaoui,the director of  the step will share these historical moments of a Sherifian country called Morocco. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

SNRT directors honored by the Ambassador of Italy in Rabat

On the 25th of novembre 2013 ; the ambassador of Italy in Rabat ; Mr Roberto Natale has invited SNRT directors to honor Allal El Alaoui by giving him his special Jury prize gotten in Parma Music and Film International festival 2013 .

Mr Roberto has been impressed by the presence of so many TV directors, actors  such as Khalid Brahimi, Raouf Sabbahi Aziz hayzoun and Adil Doukhou ,It has been noticed that some producers  have been present when delivering the prize to Allal.By the way, Richardo Moretti, The director of the festival and famous Music composer from Parma, was impressed by the filmic music composed by Brahim Belouafi and the excellet work of The Al Wassiya crew such as Mohamed Ahmich , Larbi Benshili ,Tarik Idrissi,mohamed Recham and actors like Moahmed Benbrahim, Fatima Bassour, Salah and Ben Salah and Kenza friddou.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Some advices for new screenwriters

- Learn the craft of screenwriting
- Read as much screenplays as possible
- Read movies all sort of movies 
-get better and learn the craft
- go back and learn the craft
- be prepared from rejection
- learn the craft 
- be competitive,excellent and and be a masster by learing the craft
- need to develop yourself the same as screenplays are being developped 
- Learn the craft again and again
- There are of course some people who are born skilled 
-Yet,learn the craft please 
- When your finish your first draft,may be learn the rewrite
-learn the craft and keep this saying as chorus line 
-Learn the craft 
- Learn any way that this is not impossible but do it anyway 

Sunday, December 01, 2013


“Suspense is like a woman. The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement. ... The conventional big-bosomed blonde is not mysterious. And what could be more obvious than the old black velvet and pearls type? The perfect ‘woman of mystery’ is one who is blonde, subtle and Nordic. ... Although I do not profess to be an authority on women, I fear that the perfect title [for a movie], like the perfect woman is difficult to find.”

Imaginary means existing only in the mind, not in reality. 
Ex. When Jimmy drinks a lot of beer, he starts seeing imaginary objects. 

Or it can mean relating to or containing imaginary numbers, or being the coefficient of the imaginary part in a complex number. 
Ex. The term "i" is imaginary. 

Imaginative has several meanings. 

Meaning 1: good at thinking of new ideas or at visualizing things that have never been seen or experienced directly 
Ex. He is imaginative because he always is coming up with interesting ideas. 

Meaning 2: new and original, or not likely to have been easily thought up by somebody else 
Ex. His idea is imaginative, since no one else had thought of it. 

Meaning 3: with a tendency to pretend or fantasize 
Ex. He is very imaginative because he always seems to be day-dreaming. 

Meaning 4: seeming untrue, implausible, or unlikely (often used ironically) 
Ex. His story of being abducted by aliens is very imaginative. 

Meaning 5: relating to the ability to form images and ideas in the mind, or to think of new things 
(sorry, can't think of an example for this one
When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says, 'But what's my motivation?, ' I say, 'Your salary.'
Alfred Hitchcock

Saturday, November 30, 2013

FIFM 2013

Martin Scorsese head of the jury at he 13th session of the International Film Festival of Marrakech.
saturday, Nov 30

  This morning, a press conference was held for the jury that was selected by the organizers of the thirteenth session of the International Film Festival of Marrakech , in which fifteen films are competing for nominating prices. 
The jury was headed by the U.S.film director, Martin Scorsese. The platform included the following members:

Patricia Clarkson of the United States of America . Anurag Kashyap of India. Goulhevch Farahani from Iran. Marion Quetar of France . Paulo Surrentin from Italy. Amat Escalante from Mexico. Nargis carpenter from Morocco . Park Chan-wook from South Korea. .Fatih Akin , of Turkish German background.

Scorsese's main expectations of the selected film/s

- The selected film must reflect the personal view of the film director . The director should have a distinct touch .
- The selected film must be using cinematic language . A picture is very important in communication, and using it raises questions such as; What does that mean? What is the message behind it?
- The selected film must react with the cultures of the world. Scorsese set Italian film making as an example of successful, worldwide cinema, as it involves universal human reaction. And the benefits of the cinema said it opens hearts to other cultures . 
 Scorsese clarified his point of view claiming that the lower social classes do not often read and films viewing insures that this particular social class is reached. 
 He then made a point that the youth should watch old movies as they contain messages in depth and are regarded as a real school for learning film making.
 Scorsese pointed out that there has been a tremendous increase in the numbers of movies made in the last twenty years. And that is a source of a great joy.  Movies certainly reflect the conditions of different cultures and societies, and represent the aesthetic standards of the era they are produced. He said that it is a pleasure that movies no longer come from only California, they now come from all over the world. This happens nowadays in such a fast way, which is so fortunate as the images allows us to know other peoples and cultures .
Martin Scorsese volunteered to answer most of the questions that the press asked the members of the jury. His influential personality reflected in a strong and persuasive talk of a great man in the wold of movie making. It was clearly noticed that he was the main focus during the conference. The Italian Paulo Surrentin, himself, revealed his admiration for Scorsese and did not hesitate to point out that he was inspired by his works and would not dare oppose him in any of his choices. 

Hassane Haizoune
The 13th session of the International Film Festival, Marrakech

Editorial of His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid

The thirteenth edition of the International Film Festival of Marrakech has just eloquently concretized  values ​​that led to the creation of this annual homage to the seventh art. Thus universality is more present through the retrospective of Scandinavian cinema that will allow us to immerse ourselves in essential works of the North European imagination. 
Similarly, the talent and diversity of the members of the Jury, chaired this year by Martin Scorsese, testify to the vision and the opening of our international festival.

At this, the unmissable masterclasses , led by Abbas Kiarostami , James Gray, Nicolas Winding Refn and Bruno Dumont, will allow moviegoers to share movies and thoughts of great directors, which are associated to the philosopher Régis Debray . This openness to the world is reinforced by the Official Selection, which highlights films that transport us through feelings and realities that make of the cinema a global art in the service of understanding the other .

The International Film Festival of Marrakech is also - and this is now a tradition - serving our youth, our young students directors, who will present their first short films in the Cinécoles Competition

This celebration , which will illuminate the city of Marrakech for nine days, is also for the Visually Impaired, which for the fifth consecutive year, we will continue to offer through audio description , the beauty and the magic of the cinema .

Let us therefore live this wonderful experience that brings us together in Marrakech, and where the Cinema will be our language, carrying hope and brotherhood.

The President of the Foundation
International Film Festival of Marrakech
 Translated by Hassane Haizoune

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cinema and Movies got funding from CCM

The Commission held its third session under the year 2013, 12, 13 and 14 November at the headquarters of the CCM, under the chairmanship of Mr Abdelkrim Berrechid, with the participation the following members: Ladies Bendaoud Sabah, Fatima Ifriqui and gentlemen Driss Tahri Thami Hejaj, Louali Mohamed Mohamed Belfqih Mohamed El Kadmiri Abdelhak Afandi, Edkhil Bashir Mohamed Hicham Regragui and Tariq Khalami.

This commission has given Cinema and Movies spearhead by Siham El Alaoui 100.000.00 Dh as an aid to shoot its first shortfilm called ‘The Step’ which is a short story written by Khalid Akalai and it will be rewritten by the author himself and Allal EL Alaoui who will assure its direction next year in Tetoun found in the north of Moroccan .

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Humain emotions that motivate good writing

"You don’t have to be Joseph Campbell to see no matter who’s in Casting Call the archetypes never change .Each one of the archetypes has a story arc we want to see played out again and again .And it is all about matching what we carry in the back of our minds to what we see onscreen.Who deserves to win and why ? Who deserves comeuppance and why ? And despite the dictates of political correctness,fashion and fad,we still want to see justice meted out for chararcters we hate and vistory granted to those we admire .The stories of these heroes and the mathematics equations that makes their stories work is already sewn into our DNA".

                                                                                 B.Snyder / « Save the Cat 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Posted by 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


So somewhere in one of my recent blogs I seem to remember mentioning the words 'emotionally honest', but what does that actually mean?

I read a lot of new writers' screenplays through my reading service and the one major thing I notice is the lack of 'emotional honesty' in their work. Too many characters simply spit out lines that sound cool, usually with a flippant or jokey tone or attitude, which rarely do anything to enhance character. When I use the word emotion I don't mean characters simply getting angry, shouting, hitting out, or that so over used cliche of the single tear running down a character's cheek. As a writer you have to dig deeper.

In every scene you have to ask yourself...
  • What are the characters' goals?
  • How will they go about achieving these goals?
  • Who wins out at the end of the scene?
And most importantly...
  • How do the characters feel and react to other characters' actions in their attempt to achieve their goals?
It wasn't until I learnt how to do this, how to keep the characters' actions and responses 'emotionally honest', that I started to receive a great deal more interest in my work. I finally understood there are many different emotions and many layers of each, which emotions and their strength and how they show themselves, all depends on who the character is. The key is knowing your characters well.

Here's a scene taken from my optioned screenplay FAITH. Michael has just suffered an epileptic fit and his sister, Faith, is cleaning him up.

Faith and Michael sit in the bath. 
Faith stitches the wound above Michael’s eye with a needle and thread.  Michael winces but doesn’t move. 
Scars cover Michael’s back, arms and chest, evidence of an old horrific beating. 
With the final stitch in, Faith tenderly washes away the blood. 
A gentle kiss and she wraps Michael into the comfort of her arms.

The scene illustrates just how close these two are. Despite the pain Michael lets his sister stitch up his wound... he trusts her to look after him. Equally Faith, once finished, kisses him gently and holds him tight in her arms to comfort him. That simple gesture alone speaks volumes about much she cares for him and the type of character she is. No words were needed. She didn't need to blurt out her concerns. She just had to hold him. And the old scars on his body hint at Michael being hurt in the past, adding another layer to a very powerful and emotionally honest scene.

Think more about each line of dialogue, each action and importantly the reaction of your characters. How can they help build emotion while keeping it real?

If someone's relative is killed most people wouldn't head off on a killing rampage, or try to extract revenge. Some would fall apart, stray, become lost, others would busy themselves so they didn't have time to think about things. A little extra care and thought could really make the difference to your characters and screenplay.

One book I recently discovered has been a great help in assisting this process is; The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. Although written with novelists in mind I have also found it translates well to screenwriting. Hunt a copy down and get working, and soon you'll be writing characters and scenes that readers won't be able to put down.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cv of Larbi Sassi

  12 by allal

  6 by allal

Death of Syd Field

TRIBUTE TO SYD FIELD -- We lost a friend with the death of Syd Field. Syd was a pioneer of the study of the screenwriting form. He was the first to challenge the old Romantic notion that writing a good script is a gift of divine intervention and showed that it comes from a craft that can be learned.

He also wanted to democratize screenwriting in Hollywood, so it wasn’t just a few guys on the inside, and instead it was open to anyone willing to learn and practice and master the form.

Syd was one of the most gentle, sweet and generous human beings I’ve ever known. I got to know him when we would teach Screenwriting Summits together. He had a wonderful sense of humor and we would have great fun kidding each other. I had looked forward to seeing him again at the Summit in London this past weekend. But it was not to be. I will miss him deeply.

  • Allal El Alaoui a great loss indeed.Yes , both Doctor Truby and Syd Field have great impact on me to write screenplays.Thank you vey much and May God Have mercy on you both

Friday, November 15, 2013

The youngest film producer in Morocco is Siham El Alaoui

Written by Ali Karama

2013 is unfortagetable for Siham El Alaoui.Why,because Siham has produced one film called ‘Pants of Blood’ and CCM commission has recently  accepted to finance her shortfilm by offering her 100 000,OO DH . This film is   called « The Step » a short story written by Khalid Akalai and it will be rewritten by khalid Akalai and Allal El Alaoui who will assume its filmic direction .

By the way, Khalid Akalai is considered as a remarquable literary writer who has just been awarded the first prize in Irak 2013 recently.He has also translated a handsome novel called 'Vistoria' by Knut hamsun ;an honorable  Norwegian writer . For this reason , Siham  will be visiting Norway for a short touristic visit where  she will be presenting her new project for norwegian television for future co-production after having spent some few days in Istanbul trying to find more cinematic sponsors.

Siham hides an innocent smile in her angelic face and she is known of her cool  communication with people . She is loved by many because of her charisma and beauty and is more wanted by project holders namely film makers .In the past, Siham  wanted to be an actor but she has decided to be a producer because of her passion to leadership and of course her love  of cinema and movies is something beyond reach ; a  seducing name that  she has already chosen to call her cinematic  company .That is ‘ Cinema and Movies ‘ a company based in Kenitra and founded in 2010 .

While defending her project before CCM commission 2013, she really got the intention of fim critics and screenwriters such as Mohamed Belfqih,Mohamed Kadmir,Sabah Bendaoud,Fatima Ifriqui ;Abdelkhalek Afandi ;Mohmed Hicham Regragui and Tarik Khali . Siham is willing to work for the sake of cinema and she loves her country so much that she thinks that cinema is a powerful tool to dispatch  the image of her country called Morocco.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fatim EL Ayachi,the girl who comes from power.

Written by Allal El Alaoui

It is no doubt that Fatim El Ayachi is trudging along to stardom and why not to mega-stardom too .I might exagerate a little bit but the girl has proved to be one of  the best actresses in Morocco. Fatim but not Fatima, the first name is more aristocratic than popular .But,Who is that girl as Madonna ; the US pop singer said ?

One of the secret of her sucesss ,is that Fatim has good fingerprints in the world of cinema ; surely her charisma , charm and beauty.This is one of the reasons  too many film makers are calling her to work with them such as Hakim Noury,Mohamed Echaouer,Farida Bourkia and Lahcen Zinoune .

Fatim defends movies  with great wit and intelligence  .She loves acting so much that she urges filmmakers to deepen their thoughts on roles .This has been proved in films that Fatim has played in such as Zineb Nefzaouiya ,a lucid and illuminating jew girl who loves to read books .Because of that intellectual passion, Zineb is portrayed by Fatim El Ayachi who becomes one of the most intelligent figure in the Moroccan politics.

The adaptation of the book already written by Zakia Daoud  is done and the film is made by Farida Bourkia whose television drama is still having great influence on her. .The movie was highly good in lighting and costume .However i think it is badly structured because simply Farida is still influenced by TV melodramas as i have mentioned before .

Between  The allowed and the forbidden,the sacred and the profane are items that Moroccans are involved with and they   become more plunged into  psychological dilemma that they could not get out from. Whether to follow the Iranian  cinema model or the western cinema one ; a controvercy and debate that overtake Moroccan imagination. Do Moroccans need psychological doctors or is it a normal state of feeling ? May be they need Algerian doctors to cure them from this lunacy .
( Joking)

In old times,actors used to find difficulties to find jobs either because of the production or luck of money but let’s not forget that old actors have done great sacrifices to work in media in general because simply Morocco has just come out from French colonisation and working for the nation was a sort of struggle to freedom and dignity.

Today it is different , There is money everywhere but we only talk about quantity or quality .Women find jobs easily than men .Is it sex appeal or passion of work that is something i would leave  for critics than for heaven.

Surely , Fatim is trudging along to stardom and she is becoming a brilliant actor ,although in Morocco the culture of stardom is debatable.El Ayachi has participated as the leading actor in three or four films . What she needs is only a film maker who snatches  light out of her belly as we say.SNRT directors begin to talk about Fatim and apparently one of them has already casted her for his future film  in 2014.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Amreeka's director;Cherien Dabis,interviewed by Hassane Haizoune

Interview with Cherien Dabis, 
Director and writer of the striking award winning movie:
 by Hassane Haizoune

    The film got many awards and was applauded universally. Was projected in Cannes in two festivals. Released by National Geographic Entertainment in 2009The film in a lot of people's opinion is very pathetic and it rises  the question Arab/Israel conflict in such a unique artistic and skillful way, spotting points of togetherness between the people of this planet in an altruistic, humanitarian philanthropic sphere. It goes beyond the traditional description of the sufferances of Palestinians in the occupied territories further to the distress of those lucky ones who managed to find a refuge in the United States. It is a story of a divorced mother of a lonely child who persuaded her to leave her job and sick mother to seek refuge in the United States in search of a better life. The movie, was received with both contentedness as well as disapprobation although the heroin was a non religious character. The story is not a story of American prejudice, it is a story of real life in America. The film got an amazing success worldwide and was reviewed in 64 magazines and newspapers in the States only, including Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today and New York Times. the film made its first premiere in a dramatic competition at the 2009 Sundance Film festival. Film Awards: Winner Fipresci prize at Cannes Festival 2009, Official Selection director's fortnight, Cannes film festival, New Directors/new films. Official Selection Dramatic competition Sndance. The film was produced by Christina Piovesan and Paul Barkin.

     The director, Cherien DAbis  who also wrote the script was born in Omaha, Nebraska, USA in 1976. About her identity, Cherien explains that she is not American enough for the Americans and not Arab enough for the Arabs. Of a Palestinian father and a jordanian mother, she grew up in rural ohio and Jordan. the film reflects so much about her family experience and everyday life  in the States. Many of the events of the film were inspired by reality and her family experience in the US. 

The director really appreciated my comment/question: can the film be regarded as a historical documentary rather than a fiction story?
    Cherien Dabis was present during the projection of her movie at Rif Cinema in Tangier, Morocco. She made such great efforts to respond to all kinds of questions and clarified every issue regarding her movie. Hassane Haizoune made a quick interview with the director and got the following responses.

Hassane Haizoune: What would you like  to tell the Moroccans while projecting your movie Amreeka in Morocco? And also What was your first objective making the movie in the first place?

Cherien Dabis: I think I just wanted to share the film with Moroccans. And I hope they will be able to identify with it and really appreciate it for the way in which the movie brings people together and in the way it celebrates Arab identity, culture, ,family love. I got into trouble a lot with the film all over the world specifically in the Arab world. It's surprising, and is really joyful for people to see a real Arab story on the big screen, An Arab family, you know, So I hope Moroccan can identify with the film. They can see themselves in the film. And they can understand a bit what experience is like for friends and relatives whom they may know have emigrated, lived abroad, whether to France, or  to the United States, that many ways are experience for emigrants is the same no matter where you are, no matter where you are from, no matter where you go. That in many ways the experience of being a new emigrant in a new land is very very similar. So I think that being able to identify yourself in the film is one of the reasons why I made it and one of the reasons why I am here and I hope people here will get to view.

Hassane Haizoune: Through your movie you want to send many massages, messages to the whole world, one of the explicit ones is for instance is wrapped in the humorous demand starting with : tell the president of the United States…… a lot of messages in your movie, a lot messages….. Would you like to select some of the most important ones for you?

Cherien Dabis: I think it is different for everyone, everyone takes away something different from the film, so I don't want to put any particular message out there. For me , the story is very much about a woman who has to learn to stand up for herself and has to claim a sense of home. Because it's not going to be given to her. And so I think that's one of the, you know, when I see the film, that's what I identify with. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to make it. Because it's someone who has grown up in the diaspora homeless bin something that is constantly evolving this idea of home and what is it. So and in a way, I would like people to walk out of the theater having a conversation about that, maybe thinking a little about what is it like to be for people who are outsider in t heir own communities, or if they are outsiders themselves in sort of appreciating the fact that they are not alone, that in a way, we all have this sense, we all feel there is one point or another in our lives. So those are a few of the things that I think. I would like to say within this film that I hope I have successfully , you know in a way kind of communicated in the film so I think that everyone sees and takes away something different, so I appreciate that also hearing other people's points of view. What they get when they watch the film.

Hassane Haizoune: So this is your first movie, right?

Cherien Dabis: yes, it is my first one. 

Hassane Haizoune: After the success of your first movie, Do you consider making a second one?

Cherien Dabis
The second feature movie in a way is a sister movie to Amreeka. This time it is about the experience of an Arab American who goes to Jordan, to plan her summer wedding. So it's a sort of the opposite experience of being an American in the Arab world. it's similar to the way I grew up ,and that I was , you know. In the US, I was the Arab, and in the middle East, I was the American, so it was this sort of dual identity,and taking the look at  you know the  flip side of that.

Hassane Haizoune: It is outstanding how you made this dual identity emerge majestically in your successful movie Amreeka.  
We thank you so much for sharing your movie with us here in Morocco. And I must admit that I have enjoyed every single bit of the movie Amreeka. A very successful movie not only in my point of  view but in that of thousands if not millions before me. I am, just like my fellow Moroccans, really impressed!

Cherien Dabis: thank you. (in Arabic)