Interview with director Yama Rauf (NO WOMAN)

Yama Rauf’s film from Afghanistan “NO WOMAN” played to rave reviews at the November 2016 Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Yama Rauf: There was a women’s day film festival in my home town Mazar-i-Sharif, where I made this film for competition and it won best film prize. I am from a country where patriarchy is dominated the society, but I strongly believe in man and woman equality and I am fighting for it.

MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

YR: It took around 2 weeks from idea to finished product. The most exciting part is when you see the results every single moment in post production.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

YR: Equal unequally

MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

YR: We shot it in a desert, there were awful winds and rains unexpectedly. we had to flow the mask in a way we wanted, but it wasn’t working with the normal fans we had, because we were in a desert where wind is a true rebel. Eventually we made it by dozens takes. Also, we had to leave the location before evenings for security reasons.

MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Los Angeles audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

YR: I think it’s so cool to see what others think of your film. The presenter and the two other women were great at interpretation of film. It was an amazing experience to see people from other side of the globe talking about your film.


MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

YR: I thought of general obstacles for women in Islamic countries, like, there is always a way and of course there are aspirations at the very end of the way and a bad guy. So let’s put some women on this way and make it a film.

Besides, I had a feminist peom of my own. The mask part is adopted from that. It says:

For those men, whom
mocking femininity
but behaving like a lion themselves
seem to have lived like a man.

Lion is symbol of bravery, a good leadership and success in our culture. Where some men thinks they are lions, but they forget they are human not lions.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

YR: I don’t usually see films twice, unless some of the scenes for educational reasons. I watch a lot of short films, almost daily.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

YR: My next project is a short documentary on a young Afghan refugee in Denmark, where he suffers from the back pain with no health insurance. The DK government has denied to give him residence permit. This short doc gonna be under 10 minutes.


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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