I left my heart in Cannes

Cannes is even more than what i expected it to be. A gigantic industry, a bee hive. So many things to do, from networking to watching movies to attending workshops…

The Short Film Corner is a platform where business and art merge together, and allows you to sharpen your business acumen and marketing skills in a very steep curve. You really have to put forward your differentiating factor in order to distinguish yourself and try to attract distributors, buyers or industry professionals that would be interested in distributing your current project or financing your next one.

It was for me an amazing opportunity, since it enabled me to meet so many great filmmakers from all around the globe, to promote my film among elite distributors, agencies and television chains, to pitch my ideas to producers there and to attend a wide range of master classes and conferences. One of the most interesting one in my opinion was the conference given by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the winner of the Palme d’Or in 2010 for “Uncle Boonmee”.

« A Separation »

If you have not seen yet the movie « A Separation », I highly recommend it. It is by far the best movie of the year in my opinion, and its Oscar is well-deserved.

is a 2011 Iranian drama film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi. It won this year the 84th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the first Iranian film to win the award.

The movie revolves around a couple -Nader and Simin- who have been married for 14 years and live with their 11-year-old daughter in Tehran. The woman wants to leave the country with her husband and daughter, as she does not want their daughter to grow up under the oppressive political situtation. However, the husband does not have the same vision, since he would like to remain in Iran to take care of his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. When Nader decides to stay in Iran, Simin files for divorce.

Here is a review by Lee Marshall that appeared in the Screen Daily that I found particularly interesting:

“Showing a control of investigative pacing that recalls classic Hitchcock and a feel for ethical nuance that is all his own, Farhadi has hit upon a story that is not only about men and women, children and parents, justice and religion in today’s Iran, but that raises complex and globally relevant questions of responsibility, of the subjectivity and contingency of ‘telling the truth’, and of how thin the line can be between inflexibility and pride – especially of the male variety – and selfishness and tyranny.”

Saudade

« Saudade » is the title of my new movie. As I had mentionned in my previous post, I have written, directed and produced a short film last summer in Lebanon, and the trailer has just been released last week-end. It features Cyril Aris & Mounia Akl, Yasmina Hatem & Malek Rizkallah, Nabil Ghorayeb, Mona Fakhry and Thomas Chelhot. Assistant Director: Nicolas Cardahi, DOP: Marc Abiad, Sound: Melissa Karam, Music: Barnabas Folk, Ivan Folk and Milan Kuli, Art Direction: Mirella Salameh and Mounia Akl.

You can watch and share the trailer on Youtube at the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7G34Zzc-Xe.

You can also visit the page on Facebook called « Saudade » in order to follow the news for festivals, screenings, pictures of the shooting, plot description and so on, by clicking on the following link: www.facebook.com/saudademovie

Hope you enjoy it ! Comments and feedback are welcome.

Synopsis of the movie:

The story unfolds in Beirut in 2003. Two couples, two divergent destinies: one spiraling upwards, the other downwards. Leila and Nabil have been together for two years, and the stars seem to be aligned for them. They are both rising actors full of dreams and aspirations, and they have all life lying in front of them to accomplish them. Their friends, Hala and Kamal, are experiencing the ups and downs of married life. Deeply in love, they each have their own passion: the former is a writer, the latter a photographer attracted to the sea since his childhood. A couple whose love cannot be spared by the tricks of fate manipulating them. Caught in a dilemma, the woman finds herself trapped in a whirlwind of guilt, apprehension, and eventually undertakes a decision that she is not close of forgetting.

An Orange Dog Productions

If you have read my previous post, you would understand better this one. It’s about fulfilling a childhood dream of filmmaking, that finally concretized itself this summer when I was in Lebanon. Now this was not an easy journey, it was in fact a painful and laborious one, that required a lot of patience. But I can tell you that in the end, the reward just warms up your heart and makes you want to smile until your cheeks hurt. (more…)

La Dolce Vita

Being a filmmaker has always been my dream. From as long as I can recall, I have been attracted to the world of cinema, with all that it entails: acting, scriptwriting, directing, producing, etc.

This interest was most probably inherited from my father, a big cinephile, who has introduced me at a very young age to this fascinating and addictive art. He used to say “I read more about movies than I watch them”- which was true. He had a huge library with big books on the Italian cinema, the neo-realism and the French New Wave, which he used to read eagerly everytime he had a chance. His favorite one was “Hitchcock by Truffaut”, which is a classic study of the great director and his films, comprising a series of dialogues between Hitchcock and Truffaut. French cineast Francois Truffaut, who was a big admirer of Hitchcock’s work, had the brilliant idea to interview the master of suspense, and collected all the information in a massive book divided scene by scene, film by film. I highly recommend this to anyone who is passionate about the 7th Art. (more…)

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