Behind High Walls won Best Production Design Award in the 6th Season of MP Film Award Tania Kamal-Eldin Executive Producer of the Film Behind High Walls agree to interview with us.
For over two decades, Tania Kamal-Eldin has produced documentaries, short films, educational, music, theatrical performance, public service announcements, and installation videos. Her productions are screened in competitive festivals worldwide and are distributed by Women Make Movies Inc. and Arab Film Distribution. Kamal-Eldinhas an MFA in visual arts from The University of California at San Diego where she was a Jacob Javits Fellow.
About the Film: Synopsis: Behind High Walls Film Synopsis:
The film, Behind High Walls, is an allegory of the demise of the Arab revolution. The protagonist, Karim, is a disillusioned young man who has passed away under enigmatic circumstances. His soliloquy is intercut with vignettes from his memorial.
Karim represents the dashed hopes of Arab youth, as well as their precarious future.
Trailer of "Behind High Walls"
What was your drive behind making this film?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: I was teaching a class, Script to Screen,at the American University of Cairo in Egypt. And I wanted to make a short film that resonated with Arab youth. It was an opportune situation to produce such a film with the students.
How you feel when you are awarded with the MP FILM AWARD Award?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: Delighted! It is wonderful for everyone involved to be acknowledged and rewarded by MP FILM AWARD.
Can you tell us about the greatest moment during shooting this film?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: The greatest moment for me during shooting this film was when the production phase was done. Even though post production was still ahead, I felt tremendous relief and satisfaction with the completion of shooting the footage.
How rigorously did you stick to the script while shooting?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: The script was a collaborative effort for which I provided the narrative spine. I wanted the students to all have a voice. Naturally there was some divergence of opinions on the storylines but I did my best to amalgamate a consensus in the final version. There was minimal deviation from the script on set with the actors.
Where there any onset problems During the filming of the film & how did you deal with it?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: Where do I begin? There were many problems which is common, especially in low budget, independent filmmaking. On the major day of shooting there were missing and late actors and crew members. The main actor’s shoot fell through so another protagonist had to be found.
Do you have any advice for young filmmaker out there? Or like yourself?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: Realize that filmmaking is very hard work. And if you believe in your project, you have to persevere. Keep in mind that just about everything that can go wrong, will probably go wrong!
Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: No, I don’t. But an institution can provide structured learning and access to equipment to aspiring filmmakers.
Which film has inspired you the most?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: There are many films that have inspired me. One of my all-time favorites is Bagdad Café directed by directed by Percy Adlon. The films of Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, and Bernardo Bertolucci inspired me. More contemporary films include those made by Chris Marker and Jane Campion as well as many documentary filmmakers.
Which particular film maker has influenced you the most?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: Once again, there are many filmmakers that have influenced me, so it’s difficult to pinpoint a single one. Please refer to question Q8.
Which book would you love to make a film out of one day?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: My mother’s novella, Coming Apart in Cairo, which is heavily biographical. It is based on her life in Cairo, Egypt, in the fifties through the mid-sixties. It would make a great film.
If you got the opportunity to go back in time & change something in any particular movie of yours, then which movie & what changes will you opt for?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: In retrospect I’d change many things on all of the films I have made. I think it’s par for the course for independent filmmakers to look back at their work and be dissatisfied with some of elements of their productions.
If you were to shoot the film again, what would you do differently?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: I would modify the scriptand cast some different actors. In the cinematography, there were not enough close-ups and variation of angles.
What is your greatest achievement till date?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: I’m proud of being able to produce films and maintain creative control. Although I rarely had the budget I needed I persevered and managed to produce short films that succeeded in the way of getting distributors and having a viewership.
How do you pick yourself up after a failed film?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: You try to keep going. As I mentioned, perseverance is the sine qua non for making films. You have to believe in your project enough, that you’re willing incredibly difficult route of producing it without any assurance of it success.
Where our viewers can catch you (share your social media)?
Tania Kamal-Eldin: https://www.herwayproductions.com
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