Interview with Filmmaker Chozy Aiyub (CONFLICT)

CONFLICT was the winner of BEST SHORT FILM at the May 2022 WILDsound Flagship festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

– I was born and raised in Palestine then moved to the US in 2001. Most people that I met here did not know anything about Palestine. Sometimes they would say “Oh you are from Pakistan”, while others would say “Oh yeah I have been to Israel!” which was kind of a slap in the face. The news in the US is biased and they do not show both sides, the just praise Israel and label us as terrorists in our own country while we are fighting for our freedom. I have been talking about this topic for nearly 21 years in the US and it was time for me to create something meaningful to better explain both sides, not be biased, and leave it up to the audience to think, research or take action.

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

– It took me about 5-6 months from the moment I wrote the title on a piece of paper until the film was edited and ready to be submitted to festivals. What takes the most time is editing (picture and sound) but I worked with an amazing team who made my vision become true.

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

– What if

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

– Playing both roles was the most challenging thing I have ever had to do in front of the camera, which also challenged my team behind the camera.

What I had to do was first play Mohammad – the prisoner’s role, then the next day I had to shave my head and play Moshe – the soldier’s role.

I was not fully sure how I would end up playing Moshe the next day, so making sure that the energy match was probably the hardest.

Thanks to the amazing stand-in actors that rehearsed with me prior to the shooting dates and were giving and available.

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

– I was very touched, humbled and inspired. Seeing others so passionate about my film and the story, giving their honest feedback made me speechless.

The details of the feedback were amazing. It actually gave me the boost I needed to continue telling more stories and sharing them with the world. So thank you all for that. Much love.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

– I made my first short skit during the Pandemic. While most people went on pause, I hit the gas pedal hard and started creating. Nobody was going to stop me from writing stories and bringing them to life. Thanks to my team and friends for joining me on this ride and taking a chance with me on these stories that need to be told.

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

– Scarface. I love all Al Pacino and all his films. He is so talented and he continues to inspire me.

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 what you did was beyond my expectations. So thank you for that. Just keep doing what you do.
I Would love to be there in person and see people’s reactions while they are watching the film. Nothing beats that 🙂

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

– This platform is very easy to use and I suggest that most filmmakers submit their projects and see what happens. It will change your life.

10. What is your favorite meal?

– To keep it simple, there is nothing like Hummus and Falafel from Palestine, especially from the Old City of Jerusalem. So good!

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

– I just finished my next short film titled “Being X in America” and can’t wait for the editing to be done. So I will be submitting that next. Stay tuned.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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