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1. What motivated you to make this film?

I visited Lebanon a few years ago, and captured this footage as a souvenir of sorts. I was tracing the steps of my great-grandfather and other family, searching for the history of my roots and ancestors. When the devastating Beirut explosion took place in 2020, I felt compelled to create this video to remind the world of Lebanon’s beauty. It is truly the most magical land I’ve ever walked upon.

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

This film took a long time, because for years I wasn’t quite sure what its purpose was. I have made versions that were an hour, 40-minutes, 15-seconds, different voice overs, different voice actors, and none of them resonated with my spirit. Finally, earlier this year, I typed out a poem and decided to marry the two, creating a visual love letter of sorts.

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

Simply dreamy.

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

Understanding the vision of the project, how it would be impactful. When you have weeks worth of footage, what is the correct story to tell? I struggled for years to make something that felt “right” – lo and behold, the answer was a five minute experimental short documentary.

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

I wept! It was overwhelming to not only receive such wonderful feedback (as an artist), but to know that my film’s truest intention of spreading the beauty of Lebanon hit its mark.

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

I have released music for many years as “Merykid” – and sometime in 2014, I started filming experimental videos to accompany some of my music. By 2016, I was in film school.

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

The Big Year, a movie about people watching birds. That movie is as comfortable as an old sweater for 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?

My only regret is not being able to attend a screening in person!

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

FilmFreeway has been great, I have actually never been accepted into a festival before this documentary so I’m experiencing a great joy with the platform currently.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Somewhere deep in the mountains of Lebanon, a little old lady made a meal for me that was so delicious that it actually made other foods pale in comparison.
If you’ve never had homemade Lebanese food from the mountain village of Kfar Amey, I recommend it.

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

Honestly I would like to rest for a minute and see how far this film goes before taking on a new p

By matthewtoffolo

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

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