Zeid and Leila just moved in their new apartment in Beirut.
At the time I met Mashrou3 Leila, they we just starting their road to success. My good friends and I were so taken with their first song “Raksit Leila” that we approached the band with a proposition of a video clip. Needless to say the great moments we had working on creating it. Thanks again to all the Mashrou3 Band, and to all the team, it was a mad pleasure working with you guys.
For the curious, check out the making of
Disillusioned with his life in the suburbs of segregated Beirut, Omar’s discovery lures him into the depths of the city. Immersed into a world that is so close yet so isolated from his reality that he eventually finds himself struggling to keep his attachments, his sense of home.
Waves ’98 won the top prize at the Cannes film Festival, the Palm D’Or in the short film category.
I had the pleasure to work as an animator on Ely Dagher’s film, bringing some scenes to life. For more info about the film, please check the official website: Waves’98
“In a fanatic dictatorship, dance is the secret code of the silent resistance. At out-of-the-way places in town young people celebrate the hidden joy of life with their bodies, cope with the terror they experienced.
SAMT is the introduction to a dysfunctional society that is about to implode.”
- Best Fiction Film Award – Lebanese Film Festival 12th edition – Beirut, Lebanon
- Silver Tanit for Best short – 50th Journees Cinematographiques de Carthages (JCC) – Tunis
- Jury Prize – 19th Ismailia International film festival for Documentaries and shorts (Egypt)
- Audience Award – FICAM, Festival International du Cinema d’Animation de Mekness (Morocco)
- Audience Award – Le PIAFF / Paris international Animation Film Festival (France)
- Best Youth Film – Jinzhen International Short Film Festival (China)
- Honorable Mention – San Francisco Dance Film Festival (USA)
- Best short Film – Sydney World Film Festival (Australia)
SAMT is a window through which questions are asked in the face of an established status quo. One of many windows that the Arab uprisings have opened, with unprecedented equal opportunity for all questions to be asked, and for raising the most painful debates on what makes societies change. Another parallel to the realities of the Arab world today, is the repression and crackdown of states on those movements for change to bring back the established ‘order’.
SAMT can mean ‘silence’ in Arabic. But the richness of the Arabic language has a milder word for that, which could be ‘soukout’. Therefore, in the broader sense, SAMT takes a stronger meaning here, one of muteness, conveyed by the general absence of speech in the movie – and broken through a single sound to rise against it. It explores the absence of freedoms in a repressive system where there is no room for freedom of ideas, of movement, of choice, in a monochrome world where colors (differences) are prohibited.
Another nuance is that silence or ‘noiselessness’ can mean calm, peace and quiet. But SAMT is intended to portray the meaning of ‘silence’ as it is lived and experienced by the Arab youth: a perpetual censorship, be it formal or socially imposed.
With retrospective, I realize that with SAMT I naturally treated a subject that conveyed a deeply rooted rebellion against a crippling system. SAMT was a direct result of how I perceived things, an expression of the plight that all of us living in the Arab world share to various degrees, and which became, unexpectedly so, headline news nowadays: The ‘Arab spring’ and the need for freedoms, expression being one of those freedoms, and so versatile.
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“Of flesh, soul, bodies and emotion, beings gravitate on the stage of a human odyssey. An oh so human condition, condemned to dream of skies that are further and further away. Splendors and miseries of beings struggling with their demons, because down here, in this babel of bodies, the tower of sins seems well and truly erected.”