On 29th of March, ÉCU will screen 6 independent Arab films at Cinema Le Lincoln. Entrance is free but seating is limited, so reserve your spot here
Recently ÉCU spoke with Elham Abi Rached about her film ‘Leftover’ which is one of the films selected in the Special Arab Section. In this interview Elham tells the story behind her film and shares her thoughts about the Arab film scene.
“Society has to take care of elderly people, we are here because of them” – Elham Abi Rached
What drove you to start making your own independent film?
Leftover is based on a true story. I am a volunteer at the Lebanese Red Cross – Emergency Medical Services. In Lebanon we have a lot of elderly people living in poor situations. During one of my missions, I visited a man who was living alone in his house, surrounded by many family pictures on the walls. Many of the pictures displayed young people, children and other relatives. I asked about these people and whether there was a possibility they could visit him. It turned out that all of his children went abroad to find a better future. He was the only one of his family still living in Lebanon.
What drove you to submit your film to ÉCU 2013?
Film festivals are really important for independent filmmakers. It’s a great way to get your film more exposure and also an opportunity to finally show the work you have been working on for so long. I came across ÉCU, The European Independent Film Festival, on withoutabox.com and thought it was a great way for me to get more exposure in Europe.
Are you coming to ÉCU 2013 in Paris?
I would love to come to the 8th edition of ÉCU. Unfortunately I have some problem regarding the visa so it is still in question whether I can come to Paris on the 29th, 30th and 31st of March.
How did you finance and distribute your film?
I did everything myself. I had a clear picture of how the film was going to look like. I edited the film myself. Funny fact; the main character is a university physics professor. The whole production is really low budget. This film was part of my graduation thesis. It has been screened in the Beirut International Film Festival where it won 3rd prize and it was also in the University Festival. ÉCU will be my first screening in Europe.
There are three main topics featured in the film: Lebanese war, immigration and new strange environments, and the problems of ageing and treatment of the aged. What’s the message you are trying to convey?
Society has to take care of elderly people. We are here because of them. One day we will be like this and we will want to be treated well.
Why is it important to support Arab filmmakers in your opinion?
The Arabic feature film industry is a closed circle. Basically you have to have the right contacts in order to make your film. It’s really difficult for independent filmmakers to get their film financed and to receive support to distribute their film as there is not much money available. It is important to support Arabic filmmakers since they are too often stereotyped and there is not much known about the culture.
Left over – Trailer
A 65 year old man Samir reminisces the good old days he spent close to his family and friends, only to find out that war in Lebanon has completely changed his world drastically.