Interview with Filmmaker Zena AbdelBaky (ALL THAT REMAINS)

ALL THAT REMAINS was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2018 Female Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Zena AbdelBaky: The goal of this film was for viewers to think about it after it ends. To be in a conversation and think about the truthful subtitles between all the words being exchanged. It was hard to not make this film, it felt like a pressing matter that needed to be exposed and experienced.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Less than a month.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Uncomfortably real.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Getting inexperienced actors, building enough chemistry for the audience to then feel the tension, awkwardness, and self-awareness they have around each other; and to try and get the audience invested in them in such a short amount of time. The biggest obstacle also happens to be the reason i loved making it.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

First off, I’m so grateful that there’s a video to see how the audience reacted to my film, since I couldn’t be there, that was all I wanted to see. Just the fact that people took the time, watched the film, and shared their opinions about it in such an uplifting environment, it gave me goosebumps. I quickly paused the video and ran to get my father to watch it with me, my heart was beating pretty fast, not gonna lie.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I was inspired by daily conversations one has with everyone they choose to interact with. The truth is that some people are bad at hiding their initial intentions they try to sugarcoat or change in one way or another, and in this one example, I felt like I could see right through them, read their body language, and understand what is going on between the lines. And from that, I came up with the idea that the subtitles would be what is being said between the lines.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The films I love the most, I try not to watch them too often. There’s a magic to the scene construction and storytelling that takes one out of their reality. The more one watches a film, the easier it is for their brain to deconstruct it, in turn, taking away the magic. With that being said, the film I probably watched the most simply due to the fact that I got introduced to it at a young age and that it is a brilliant film, is ‘Catch Me If You Can’ by Mr. Steven Spielberg.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think that it’s absolutely genius, it saves a lot of time and energy to submit to several festivals each having their own requirements, on FilmFreeway, it’s a click of a button. One also avoids being ripped off since the platform is trusted and credited. It also introduces filmmakers to festivals they didn’t know about, giving them larger opportunities to showcase and share their work.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

According to my iTunes most played, it’s ‘The Only Ones Who Know’ by The Arctic Monkeys.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

After the making of ‘All That Remains’ I wrote and directed another film called ‘The Fairest of Them All’ which i’m very proud of as well; and am in the process of writing a mini web series, which I’m very excited for.

All That Remains - Best Film.png

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