Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
Many people speak multiple languages and often in their daily lives. You just don't see a lot of it on tv and film. As a Syrian American myself, I wanted to make something that not only showcased myself, but could help inspire other creatives to start showcasing languages more in TV and film. It was also important for me to push the boundaries of stereotypes. For instance, usually in TV Arabic is only used by people representing terrorists, or people in the Middle East. Seldomly do you see them as regular people in the United States. Yet we are everywhere! Also, typically you think of a thief or the bad guy as a male. It was important to me that it was a female and that she was smarter than me, the detective.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
It took about a year. When I first came up with the idea, I didn't know how to accomplish what I wanted. I wanted to make sure it was something people would really enjoy and have fun watching. I felt that if I was going to get others to see that multiple languages and breaking stereotypes didn't distract from the films quality or enjoyability, then when the audience was watching it I had to get them invested right away so that wasn't a thought in their minds. So, I went through many rewrites and then hired a production company to shoot it.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Of course there are many obstacles, but the biggest was the pressure I put on myself. I have no idea if someone with influence in the industry will watch this and go "Oh I have an amazing idea for a new TV show" or "This gave me an idea for a new Film", but that's what I want. I want to inspire others to embrace the languages we all know and how we do use them in our daily lives.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I loved it! They highlighted many parts that I worked so hard to make happen in such a short piece, like the great believable performances, how well shot and lit it was, and that is was like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Which it was! I did that on purpose to show that we can take any show on tv and incorporate other languages into them and it won't change the show. We don't have to be afraid to express ourselves and show who we are. It is still entertaining.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I really enjoyed acting as young kid, but it really hit me in college. I realized that tv and film is not just something that we watch to pass the time. It teaches us about life, society, cultures, and change in the world. It is therapeutic to laugh and to relate to the character on the screen. Watching them go through tuff times in life and how they overcome that. It's truly powerful.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I think industry involvement and networking is the key. Finding ways to mix up-and-coming film and TV creatives with current Showrunners, producers, and directors that are passionate about telling the same stories. I think a round table of 5-6 creatives with 1 industry professional would be best. An intimate setting where these questions can be answered by the up-and-coming creatives and then the industry guest shares about themselves, what they liked, etc. Followed by just taking.
You never know where mixing people together in small groups to really get to know each other can lead!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I really like it. There are a ton of great festivals on it!
10. What is your favorite meal?
Grape leaves the way my family makes them with garlic and lemon!
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I never know. I know that sounds lame, but I wait until I am inspired by something and then I dive in! In the meantime, I am an actor in Los Angeles and I will continue to audition and work on my craft.
BUSTED!, 1min., USA, Mystery
Directed by Steven Strobel
A pie thief is thwarted by a clever detective.