Interview with Filmmaker Azhin Kawa (PATHS)

PATHS, 11min., Iraq, War/Drama
Directed by Azhin Kawa
In August 2014 Isis attacks the city of Shingal and the villages surrounding it, while Haider and 21 members of his family are escaping the terrorists, something happens that drastically changes the course of their lives. in a double narrative fractured storyline, Haider must choose a path.

Get to know the filmmaker:

What motivated you to make this film?

The strongest basis for any good movie is its story. A strong subject and an effective message is my main motive for producing this film. Telling a tale that stems from people’s actual lives is not easy. My motive for filming this story is to demonstrate people’s decisions that impact their entire life, and the assassination of humanity and especially Kurds in the name of religion, politics, culture and many other reasons regardless of any human .ethics

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

On a typical day, I was scrolling around social media when I came across this heartbreaking article. It truly touched me. I was very sad to see the father’s pain after his decision, I told my friends about the case, and together we decided to adapt it into a movie, After speaking with the real family and obtaining their consent, we began writing the script. We were able to get two funds for the best pitch, the Gothenburg Film Fund and the Duhok Film Fund.
The production process took 136 days in total.
– Eight days of brainstorming and two revisions of the script.
– Two months of preparation.
– We shoot for three days.
– Music and post-production took two months.

• How would you describe your film in two words!?

Circle of Pain

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

Whether the project is big or small, none of the processes are simple. There is no stage that is without obstacles, but having a competent team behind you always makes it easier. The first stage of finding ideas or having a concept and converting it into a script is one of the stages I find the most challenging.

Finding the right cast for each role and adjusting to their shooting schedule, however, proved to be the most challenging parts of this project because, with the exception of the mother, father, and daughter, every other actor and extra in the movie they had never appeared in front of the camera. It made the work different and a little more difficult for me.

Another tricky time for me began in the editing room when we started explaining the story of the movie and attempting to develop a unique and acceptable way to convey the story and cut the movie. It’s true that we knew how the movie would end out even before we started scripting it, but alterations can occasionally be made in the editing room.

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

There aren’t enough words to describe how I feel about how the
viewers responded to the feedback videos, but I find it to be very
rewarding. On the one hand, I am really pleased with the viewers’
reactions and kind words. Although it is difficult to witness so much
suffering in just 11 minutes, but this is only one of the tragic stories
that we Kurds see and experience on a daily basis.

In our Kurdistan, there is laughter, joy, success, and a joyful existence,
yet there are numerous post-war remains. Every day, we learn about
the anguish of the post-war survivors and attempt to heal our wounds.

Paths team is thrilled with all the feedbacks, and excited to be able to
share this narrative with you through distinctive performances and
gorgeous visuals.

• When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I don’t want to give traditional answers like “I’ve been passionate about filmmaking since childhood,” because I didn’t know there was a field called cinema with the complexity and brilliance I know now. But I was very passionate about photography, I loved my camera, and I loved experimenting with colors. I could create a stunning image with colors even though I didn’t have a drawing hand

Then I discovered cinema and got obsessed with watching movies. I
don’t go a single day without seeing a movie. I love creating my own
world. Creating my own universe, one that is entirely mine down to the minute detail, is something I can only do through cinema, in my opinion.

When I was 15 years old and went to the movies for the first time with my father, I noticed how the crowd responded to the movie and decided this was the world I wanted to live in.

• What film have you seen the most in your life?

There are few films I’ve seen it more than once, Your first seeing of the film focuses on the plot and the characters, you don’t get to observe the film’s beauty in detail, therefore you need to watch it again. One of the films I’ve watched more than a few times is (Incendies) by Denis Villeneuve and films of my favorite director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

A filmmaker is frequently want to know more and ready to learn as
much as he can, so you continually want to soak in as much as you can, but because there are so many movies, you often find time to see your earlier ones again.

In watching films I enjoy watching films of all genres and eras, but my favorites are vintage and black-and-white films, which have a unique sense that you can only get in old films.

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

Every film festival has its unique program and manner of operation. One of the sections I want to see at every film festival is the film
marketing area, where you can network with filmmakers, publishers,
producers, and others. Having panels and seminars on any topic in
cinema, for example, provides the visitors a lot of attention. Yet taking part in this lovely festival has its own charm, and I’m glad I was able to experience it this year.

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

Film Freeway has offered a very wonderful facility and help to artists
that beautifully defines each of the festivals that you see and you can
receive the essential information from it, I unexpectedly discovered
this lovely festival and enthusiastically chose to participate.

• What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is generally morning; I set a wonderful breakfast
table with the best coffee, and I have several favorite foods.
My task has been made more difficult by Kurdistan’s richness of food. Dolma is a fantastic Kurdish meal that I really enjoy. I also enjoy
Sawar, and I enjoy seafood, but not all types.

• What is next for you? A new film?

We’ll start working on another picture when Paths is finished. In
fact, I have two really beautiful ideas, and I’m confident it will be a
strong script, but I need to attempt to acquire the required funds
before we begin construction with my powerful special crew.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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