Interview with Filmmaker Thaer Alakel (MARIA)

MARIA was the winner of Best Cinematography at the January 2022 BLACK & WHITE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have been interested in sharing how people communicate for a long time; how the intricate relationship between people is shared on screen. I feel on the outside this can look very simple, but actually it is much more complex – I have always been fascinated by this.

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

14 months

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

Love & Care

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

The film was produced during the first covid lockdown, so it took much longer to complete than planned. Plus we faced multiple restrictions to respectfully care for cast and crew, affecting how we shot the film.

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

I was appreciative of the time and detail the audience dedicated to the feedback element. To give that level of dedication to not only my film, but many others is a wonderful offer from your festival. I was proud to receive many positive comments.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realise that you wanted to make films?

When I was a child I always watched movies in the cinema. Scenes and ideas were always in my mind after watching any film. I decided to study theatre at high education and learnt and gained experience in writing and acting and directing for theatre and TV which lead me to create my own films.

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

I like to watch films from early cinema – Likely anything from D.W. Griffith. I watched Rear Window by Hitchcock several times.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Multiple screening opportunities across cities/towns, drawing more audience numbers. As artists, we care about our ideas and stories reaching many people.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

I find the platform very straightforward. The application to your festival via FilmFreeway was easy and quick.

10. What is your favourite meal?

Falafel ,, it is part of our tradition

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

The name of the film is Laila – the second of a short film trilogy to follow Maria.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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