Logline: A war film about human being - not gunshots or bombs.
Length: 5 minutes
Director: Mazen Lotfy
Producer: Independent film production
About the director and producer: Mazen Lotfy graduated with a bachelor degree in pharmaceuticals, then he studied the art of writing a screenplay, he studied storyboard technique and attended many workshops concerned with making and developing movies.
He was selected to be in the jury for the CreActive international open film festival in Bangladesh and holder of Nasser bin hamad youth creativity award recognition in film making.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Producers, distributors, film festivals and journalists.
Release date: 2016
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I really was intrigued by what is going on in Syria, the way the media tried to portray things on the ground as just the number of casualties and saddening images was kinda frustrating to me as a person, then the refugees camps scattered everywhere, you could turn on your TV to watch how people are trying to risk their own lives to just live in peace even if they had to lose everything and I mean literally everything,but I was shocked how some countries tried to close the borders on them and I can understand why they are doing this but what matters most..a human life or just national security fears ?
I was wondering if I was one of them, I get frustrated if anyone showed rejection to my face if I needed help so how about being a refugee seeking help to live as a normal human being how does it feel!! It is a moral question that some of us are trying so hard not to ask themselves because they know the answer, it hurts ,and it's killing any chance for innocent people to just live a simple life away from political conflicts and gunfire.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I believe movies make us lose ourselves, dwelling into other people's lives and minds and to understand things, experiences, thoughts and the lives of others away from judgment and prejudice.
The reason why you should watch my film is that this film is a dream, a nightmare but not in the cliché approach you repeatedly watched over and over again in other films. You will get to live a dream, and after watching you will start feeling you can only remember glimpses of the film, some shots will stick in your mind and the others will be disturbing and confusing to you, like any other bad dream, but this particular dream is the dream of a survivor from Syria, who lost everything , his loved ones and he can not cope with that fact, so he started to suffer from narcissistic secondary disorder symptoms and while he is titled a survivor he is still in deep pain and hurt, kinda torn apart between the idea of starting a new life and the memories he is trying so hard to keep to not forget Syria, his loved ones and the memories they shared, all that within his dreams.
This is a war film but not in the stereotypical way you think it might be.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
In my first film “second 63” the theme was the harassment that every woman in the world are subjected to, how they really feel and think and to kinda address men too to think about how any kind of harassment affects these women. It is something you see everyday or hear about online or on the news, it was a feminist kind of a film but for men to just think again, even if you do not act and keep your silence, that is not helpful because these women will live with unseen scars of insecurity, pain, hurt, terrorized and not being able to feel safe again the way they used to before any harassment.
And so, as my second film “the sea” is about the war, the refugees, survivors from trauma iand to dwell into the minds of survivors to actually get a glimpse of their pain and to know that even if a refugee started a new life in any country away from his/her home it is not an easy thing to do.
So the themes so far were coming from what is going on around us as people, what is going on around me, it is always a thrill to try to take a well known issue and tell it in your own way of storytelling.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I hate scripts, I know it is funny but if you are a filmmaker who writes and directs his/her film you will know what I mean, you are craving to get the film you already saw in the back of your mind to live so that other people see it and you both share experiences and thoughts.
I always change my scripts, sometimes a line, a word within a line could change how I feel about the story, how I see it and how satisfied I am about it as an audience not just as a filmmaker. I have to be slightly comfortable with what I wrote and during shooting you start to feel you need to add more or delete some lines or even change the whole scene cause it is not valuable to the whole film as a project, to the story you are telling, or trying to tell.
So it is an ongoing process and I always say, the easy part is shooting in filmmaking, writing is the hardest part.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Have to say AMAZING, I really never thought that so many people would appreciate the story behind each film.
For the first film “Second 63” , the feedback is just building up and I never thought that my debut film would get this much of feedback, when it was screened in multiple festivals,Ialways got this line “this is a good one” and it was not just about the film, but the idea and story behind it, some people came to me and the cast saying they have been there and they experienced what they already saw in my film, and that was the best feedback I got, for people to connect with the film and even men to respect and love the film which was the reason why I made it, to make men think about how harassment effects women.
For the second film “The Sea”, I could not believe myself when people asked to watch it more than 1 time, some people watched it 3 times, some watched it up to 6 times and let me say, it is not easy to watch short films this much, so this was really overwhelming, besides the feedback and discussion about the film, the cinematic approach, the story and idea, and how it was represented, I loved one specific review when it said they felt the same thing as the lead character, the state of losing, and being lost and the dreams, other reviews were about how powerful it was.
But what really moved me, when international festivals showed and sent me feedback about how much they loved the film, how much they loved the story behind it, how much they appreciate it, it is a different kind of overwhelming feeling when different audiences around the world watch your films and they show the same appreciation to the film.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback of course surprised me, I never thought that my first short film second 63 2015 is going to be in lots of festivals and be well received,it has been into
- Mobile cinema film festival in cairo,egypt
- Alexandria short film festival
- official competition of MDB film festival
- official competition of 3 minute film festival in Nevada museum of art in Nevada, USA
- Behind the Lens film festival in Melbourne, Australia
It was even well received in other festivals but due to tight time schedule they sent me a detailed review for the film and actually decided to have an international segment next year.
For the sea film, I really got great reviews from cinema experts, actors, cinema goers and it raised a discussion about filmmaking rules, do we really need rules in cinema? Or we can still make films just out of passion and love for the big screen.
The sea 2016 as it was just finished, it was well received to be in the Behind the Lens film festival in Melbourne Australia and hopefully on its way to other festivals, beside taking a recognition certificate for valuable participation in filmmaking from Nasser bin hamad youth creativity award in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
More people to watch my films, watch different films, different audience to watch my films and share thoughts, feelings, feedback and experience and hopefully of course more connections to be able to make more different films in the future and meeting other cinema goers/fans.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Producers, producers and producers again.
If we really want filmmakers who are doing short films with all different genres we know, we need to help them with production, because we can not let them make films from their pockets forever. It will not be reasonable and it might be catastrophic to the whole production value or can even intervene in the filmmaking process because most of these filmmakers are making their own films from scratch to the realization you see on screen and in festivals.
Journalists to write more about short films and distributors for these films and hopefully more film festivals who welcome screenings of new, different and sometimes innovative films.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
To raise more questions about filmmaking, to push other filmmakers to make their own films not making a copy or a visual guideline of rules or even films they already saw.
1What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Do we need rules in filmmaking?
Can filmmakers make their own rules and cinematic approach on their own way too like all the great filmmakers before have done?
Would you like to add anything else?
Yes, watch more short films, it will change your view on the world and cinema and show support for filmmakers especially independent ones, they make films because they simply love doing them and get nothing out of it mostly.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I have different projects that it could be a real nice surprise for me to do as a filmmaker, so wish me luck.