Mohamed Makhlouf, Libyan filmmaker

"Libya is full of people whose abilities and talents in film are comparable to those in Europe"


Mohamed Makhlouf, Libyan filmmaker

Mohamed Makhlouf, born in Libya, is a journalist and documentary filmmaker who has been based in the UK for over 30 years.  As well as being a film producer and director, he has worked as a freelance journalist for many Arab publications in London.

Originally from Benghazi, he founded the first Arab Independent Film Festival in London in April 1999, screening several short films and documentaries. Last year, the festival's third edition was held in Benghazi.

Magharebia met the director in Benghazi and spoke to him about film production in Libya, in the context of prevailing insecurity in the country.


What is the state of cinema in Libya?

At the moment, there is no cinema in Libya, only a movement of filmmaking on video using cinematic language. Libyans were able to have some limited experiences in Europe and America. The authoritarian regime held a certain fear of visual culture, and this played a major role in undermining cinematic expression, even ending the existence of cinema in Libya.

What are your latest projects?

At the moment, I am producing and directing several films in cooperation with a group of young people in Benghazi, with our own resources. I have also participated in several international short films festivals. Recently, I was a member of the jury for the international short film festival in Sousse, Morocco.  I am also producing the fourth edition of the Independent Arab Film Festival in Benghazi.

How do you see the future of cinema in Libya?

The security situation is bad, and presents many risks. But this is not an obstacle for the film industry. Instead, this atmosphere helps to produce more films, to witness the details of these adventures and make them more realistic.

What are your impressions of young people in Libya and their desire to enter the film industry?

In my experience of over a year and a half since my return from the UK, where I lived for more than 35 years in exile, Libya is full of people whose abilities and talents in film are comparable to those in Europe. To establish a national film movement, these young people need urgent attention and constant support from our ministries and institutions.


Source: Magharebia

Translation: Yma de Almeida

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