Logline: Two Arab-American women in New York City fall in love, argue home and identity, engage in a chess battle, and express themselves through the power of the spoken word.
Length: 14 minutes
Director: Darine Hotait
Producer: Dina Ema
About the director and producer:
Darine Hotait is an American Lebanese writer and film director. She has directed a number of award-winning short films and is currently working on her debut science fiction feature film.
Emam is an Egyptian-American producer, currently working on her first feature, Yomeddine. Emam has produced numerous award-winning shorts and is an MFA candidate at Columbia University.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): sales agents and buyers
Funders: Cinephilia Productions
Release date: September 26, 2015
The film will be screening on May 25 at 6PM at Anthology Film Archives as part of New Filmmakers New York selection.
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Making films is the only thing that keeps me connected to explore my potential as an individual. Making this film in particular is just an expansion to that exploration. It’s an ongoing process and journey just like the ongoing search for home, the main theme of I Say Dust.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I have a strong feeling that anyone watching this film, and is ready for a journey through subtext, can relate to the story and the themes that it carries. So why not give a try!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The theme of home and identity is a universal theme. Human beings are always searching to identify home. This in itself is a personal journey. So the universal and the personal are inseparable in I Say Dust.
How has the script and film evolved over the course of its development and production?
First, I had a very simple idea in mind of two women meeting in a chess store in Manhattan. I didn’t yet have a story. I just knew that I wanted to work with my friend Hala Alyan on a film and to feature her poetry. So I asked her to share with me some of her poems. I picked one which was featured in the film.
From that poem, I started to develop a story that worked with the idea of the woman in the chess store and the poetry reading. So came the story then the script. It all happened so quickly. It was also Hala’s first screen appearance. I wrote the script within a period of 3 weeks. The first person to come on board in the team was producer Dina Emam who did wonders for this film.
With her efforts, we pulled the production together within a period of 1 month. The film was shot over 3 days in Brooklyn at Prospect Park and Manhattan at Chess Forum and Alwan For The Arts.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I experienced great moments with the audience during and after every screening that I attended. But of course, some audiences, especially from Arab origins, were not very welcoming to the idea of portraying two Arab women falling in love. But that was my exact goal, to challenge stereotypes.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
When I first made the film I did not have any expectations. I did not imagine or set forth a plan for it. So witnessing a super positive response from the audience meant a great deal to me cause everything happened so quietly from conception to production.
The feedback from people who felt misrepresented, merely because of sexual representation, was definitely the challenging part in this whole experience. Having to defend an idea to someone who is not ready to listen to another point of view, is never an easy task. But as I said, I knew from the beginning that this might raise questions but I never stopped myself at that thought.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’d like people from different walks of life to watch the film and engage in a conversation or simply a thought.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
At this stage, I’m mainly looking for sales agents and buyers.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would like the film to be seen by a large audience cause I know it is a subject that can touch many souls. If the film is able to touch the heart of someone or to open someone’s eyes on a certain matter or to trigger someone to think of their own definition of home, that’s when the film succeeds to do what it is supposed to do.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What makes home?
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela