Estranged friends, Lina and Farah collide, in a corner store on a New York City night. Will they fall back into friendship or are the forces that came between them still driving them apart?
Interview with Writer, Director, Producer Haya Alghanim
Main image: Lina decides to speak to Farah.
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
The story of ‘Same, Old’ explores the sisterhood achieved in friendships between women, and how and when it becomes lost. ‘Same, Old’ is an in-depth study of friendship among women that rarely makes it to the screen.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
‘Same, Old.’ aims to be relatable as it is new to a viewer’s eyes. It carries a universal story, that deals with friendship, love, lies, and dependency. It speaks to those who have been in the same situations as either Lina or Farah, the characters of the film. At the same time, it speaks to people who haven’t been in the same exact situations, but can experience what it’s like to be in them through the themes touched upon in the film.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Farah and Lina, the characters of ‘Same, Old.’ are two Arab women who live in NYC, exposing multiple layers of their connection and history. They connected as friends, as women, and as Arabs. For each audience member, they’re going to connect with the women on different levels, depending on what they share with them, but most importantly they’re going to relate to these women simply through their friendship.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The script was workshopped and developed over the course of three months. Throughout the process of writing, the script was stripped down of a lot of exposition. By cutting out a lot of the exposition of what happened between Lina and Farah, the audience is welcome to make their own assumptions.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Tying back to the ambiguity of Lina and Farah’s history, I’ve heard many differing interpretations from viewers on what happened between the two girls. All the responses I’ve gotten tell me about the subjective point of view of the viewer, which is a success of the film.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Earlier on, the feedback has challenged my point of view. I’d hope that people could easily guess what happened between Lina and Farah, and guess right. As the film continues to have screenings, I learned that I should use the ambiguity to my advantage, and not take any of the viewer’s guesses personally. I always knew what happened between Lina and Farah, but what I think or what you think, doesn’t change the story of the film.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’m hoping to get more exposure for ’Same, Old’ as it continues to circulate through the film festival circuit. ’Same, Old’ and my upcoming short film, are proof of concepts for a feature film I’m currently writing. By having ’Same, Old’ gain traction, I hope to find people interested in my feature film.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
It would be great to have the film be accessed by as many people as possible through film festival directors and distributors.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I don’t want to prescribe a message or reception to an audience. All I ask for is them to spend time with the characters of ’Same, Old’ and share a human moment with them.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Did Lina and Farah speaking in Arabic change anything about the film’s experience?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m currently in post-production on another short film ‘Labor Day’ which is an exploration of female friendship and power dynamics centered around a weekend trip four women take to the Hudson Valley. ‘Labor Day’ and ’Same, Old’ are character studies and proof of concept short films for my feature film in development, ‘Kuwait, 2002.’.
Interview: November 2018
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Estranged friends, Lina and Farah collide in a corner store on a New York City night. Will they fall back into friendship or are the forces that came between them still driving them apart?
Length: 6.5 min
Director, Producer, Writer: Haya Alghanim
About the writer, director and producer:
Haya Alghanim is a Kuwaiti director and producer based in NYC. Through her film and art practice, she aims to pursue her passion for the preservation and representation of modern Arab art and culture. She is an MFA in Film Candidate at Columbia University.
Key cast: Rand Faris, Hana Chamoun
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Distributors, Film Festival Directors, Producers, Journalists
Social media handles:
Instagram: @newarabcinema or @hbgnyc
Hashtags you use: #NewArabCinema
Where was this filmed? Washington Heights, Manhattan, NY.
Made in association with: New Arab Cinema
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?:
Up Next: Citizen Jane Film Festival in November.