Logline: A quiet rain hides the loudest storms.
Director: Raghed Charabaty
Production manager: Megan Dockrill
About the director:
Raghed Charabaty was born in Lebanon and moved to Canada to complete a BFA in Film Production at NSCAD University with a minor in Art History. His last short film, Alia, has won three prestigious awards, including first place at Festival du Nouveau Cinema's national student competition, and Runner-Up at the Toronto International Film Festival. #Deema is Raghed's latest film.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival
directors, journalists): Distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Funders: NSCAD University
Release date: March 2016
Why did you make a film called #Deema?
Deema is the name of the film's main character. In Arabic, Deema means 'a quiet rain'. However, Deema's past is plagued by a roar that she tries to forget, the loss of a pregnancy. Once she meets Nidal, who she hadn't seen in years, they fall in love. But their love cannot move forward because of this pain inside of her.
In the same way, the Arab Spring cannot move forward because of the pain of the failed Spring in Syria. Deema needs to go inside herself and listen to the voice inside her heart. A motherly voice guides her on the path to self-forgiveness. Even though the Spring was aborted and she is struggling with these feelings of pain, she must acknowledge it and find peace within.
Only then can Deema rise again. As she says at the end of the film, 'every love in times of war is a victory.' And it begins with learning to love oneself. The hashtag symbol in #Deema echoes the hashtags of the Arab Spring (#YouStink #SyriaSpring #JasmineRevolution...)
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
#Deema is a visually stimulating film. The mere fact of watching it takes you on an audio-visual journey that feels purposeful. It also speaks to the current political world: on one hand, it tackles the fear and pain of accepting miscarriages and abortions for many Middle Eastern women, as well as the failure of the Arab Spring in the Middle East. Yet even on the primary level, it tells an engaging and moving love story between two immigrants to Canada, and the pains from their pasts that plague them.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
With #Deema, two storylines unravel simultaneously. On a personal level, Deema and Nidal's relationship, although blossoming, hits a wall. It is haunted by Deema's personal past, her failed pregnancy. In order to move forward, Deema is taken to her depths, where she is taught by a motherly voice about loving one-self, and loving the woman she has grown to become, and loving the power she is capable of.
On a more universal level, Deema's past is mirrored in the failure of the Arab Spring. For the nations of the Middle East, notably Syria, to move forward, we must forgive this failure. We must acknowledge the pain that it has brought us. Only then can we rise from that fall. Otherwise, it becomes a vicious cycle of self-destruction. Deema, and Syria, will both have to take a look inside to realize that in times of war, learning to love oneself again is the greatest victory of all.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
Originally, the script did not include a narration. After the shooting, which included a lot of improvisation, the editing demanded a poetic overlay of narration. It was exactly what the film needed, so I collaborated with Sana Gemayel Charabaty to create a piece in Arabic and in English that will highlight the story on an emotional note. That was the biggest evolution of the script for this film, and one of its key strengths.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
#Deema has received an overwhelming amount of love. It has also inspired conversations on the role of music in film, its influence on the 'spectacle' of watching, and its integration with memory and narration.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Absolutely. Listening to how the film is perceived by different people has made me aware of the 'memory' nature of the film. The way the audio presents itself along with the visuals gives it a sense of brevity and nostalgia. And the audio-visual counterpoint, where the music works against the visuals in order to propel the emotion forward seems to be quite effective. It has made me realize what filmic techniques work for me, and which ones to pursue and amplify.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible
#Deema is a film that needs to be seen by people. Many women and men have poured their hearts into this short film for the sake of its story. If filmmakers, audiences, festival programmers, and journalists can be exposed to it, that would be a great service for the message that it carries.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
#Deema is a dense film with many layers working together. Having it exposed to journalists who would like to dissect it and review it would be great. And bringing it to light for festival directors and distributors who can take it to audiences around the world is key.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
#Deema has the ability to empower the women who watch, the men who who watch it, and the youth in general who are finding their way through our broken world. The film carries the ability for its audience to appreciate the nuances of pain and love, wounds and remedies. Finally, #Deema is capable of sparking conversation about the emotions surrounding miscarriage and abortion on one hand, and the nature of revolution on the other.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Is the loss of a pregnancy, willful or accidental, worth speaking up about? How about contextualizing them in a world where women are powerful, rather than victimized? Is revolution always positive? How does a nation deal with the pains of a failed revolution?
Would you like to add anything else?
Thank you for having me on WeAreMovingStories. The presence of a platform such as this one where filmmakers answer meaningful questions is really important.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Moe Kabbara, music composer, is finishing his studies in engineering at Dalhousie University and making waves. He also sings in a band called Ostrea Lake. Jacques Mindreau, music composer, is going on a music tour across Canada in June 2016. Yalitsa Riden, DP, is working on her short film, Death Flame, which will be released soon.