Interview with Filmmaker Afaf El Haddioui (AN ORDINARY DAY)

AN ORDINARY DAY, 2min,. Canada, Experimental
Directed by Afaf El Haddioui
A portrait of a non-binary person living in Montréal and their journey of self-discovery.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
I always had an admiration for how people like Filipe, who is playing in the film, have the courage to navigate between genders, using freely codes associated with one gender or the other depending on the occasion, on the mood and on how they feel.
I also wanted to represent the LGBTQ+ community in a way that is a bit different from what we see a lot in mainstream media by showing an ordinary moment of their life, a moment that all human beings on earth share : the act of dressing up to go out and face the world.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
It took around 6 months.

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

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
I was really lucky to collaborate on this project with a team of dedicated people who were excited by the project. This made it possible to overcome many of the difficulties. The main obstacle was probably that the movie had a very limited budget which meant that I had to compromise on some creative ideas that I had initially.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was really touched by the audience’s reactions (I shed a tear or two 🙂 ) and I was happy that the message and the feeling I wanted to convey through the film has reached the audience.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Since I was a kid, I always loved to read, see and tell stories. A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to write movies, and I had the opportunity to write a short movie, Mutation (2021), that was selected in festivals in Canada and in the US. I also enrolled in a screenwriting program at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). A little later, I started writing another short movie and I realised that I had a clear vision on how it should be directed.
I always thought of myself as a words person, but I realised I am very visual as well so I decided to jump into the exciting adventure of writing and directing my projects starting with An Ordinary Day.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I rarely watch movies more than once, but there are two movies that I’ve seen many times, the first one is Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick, it is an absolute masterpiece and the more I see it the more I see some well thought and well hidden details that confirm the director’s genius. The second one is Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino. I love everything about that movie, the atmosphere of the Italian village summertime, the way it depicts the complexity of a love story in a very nuanced way, and of course the acting of Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
One of the most helpful things for me, as a filmmaker who didn’t go through the traditional path of a film school, would be to create spaces so filmmakers can connect with people in the industry.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
It was very smooth. Everything was well explained and the process was very easy.

10. What is your favorite meal?
Couscous. The Moroccan one of course !

11. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m currently exploring funding options for my next short movie, which I hope will be produced in 2023.

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By matthewtoffolo

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

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