In celebration of the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles screenings at Sunset Gower Studios this month, we're conducting a series of Q&A Features and this week we're bringing you our featured Filmmaker Spotlight:
Name/Position: Seif Abdalla/ Writer & Director
Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it.
Fragments is a film about the idea of escaping time and to live in a fantasy realm of past memories. I’ve always been interested in the concept of time and the relationship it has with memories and then by August last year, I decided that I wanted to write a short story about it. The story was merely just a novella, but then it turned into a short screenplay and I wanted to make it into a short film. After several drafts I had a locked script and then began pre-production. The actual shooting took five days. Then, the finished product was done by March of this year.
Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?
I’d like to thank the producer who is also the lead actress in the film, Sandra Seeling Lipski. She’s been really supportive in the process in the fruition of the film.
Also I’d like to thank the director of photography Rainer Lipski, who is very talented and experienced in the field and has been a remarkable collaborator.
Also Tommy Dietrick who is the music composer, he made a magnificent soundtrack using live instruments in his studio and also Abhi Malhotra, the sound designer who truly captured the feeling and mood of the film and also the feeling of drowning, which is a common element in the film. Finally Mahmoud Awad, my partner in Ber-Waz Films.
How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?
I’m incredibly excited and honored to be a part of this prestigious festival, it’s such a great feeling to have your work appreciated and acknowledged.
What inspires you?
Books, music and films. I find for a filmmaker, reading feeds your creativity and fuels your imagination.
Who are your influences and who do you admire?
-The great Japanese author, Haruki Murakami whose work I admire very much. I relate to his surreal and abstract style in his fictional stories.
-The writer/director Christopher Nolan whose films have been a great inspiration for my work especially this film.
-The writer/director Terrence Malick whose meditative and surreal style is right in my alley.
What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?
The power of collaboration can truly inspire miracles and combined visions that transcends into a synthesis. Be extremely prepared for production yet flexible for new ideas on set. Patience is main key for any project to come to fruition.
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with my favorite filmmaker Christopher Nolan [since] I can relate and understand the abstractions and the narrative freedoms he possess in his films.
What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?
A challenging experience in this project would be the editing itself. Since the film doesn’t follow a conventional narrative structure, we had to come up with a specific editing style that could reward the film’s themes and also keep a narrative flow that the audience can follow and not feel lost. To reach such a point, it took incredible effort and patience.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
You must have a unique voice.
What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?
Making films is an obsession; it takes belief and courage to be a filmmaker.
Where can we expect to see you next?
I’ll be in Egypt shooting my first feature film that would take about six months.
Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects.
You can find my latest work on www.bwzfilms.com