Yousry Nasrallah, Egyptian director and script consultant

"A filmmaker is a filmmaker, whether there's an industry or not"


Yousry Nasrallah, Egyptian director and script consultant

Last April, prominent Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah served as a script mentor at the Dubai-based Gulf Film Festival's Gulf Script Market, an initiative to assist the Arabian Gulf’s scriptwriters in fine-tuning their scripts and forming partnerships with directors and producers. The initiative is one of several to create new opportunities for Gulf filmmakers and foreign professionals to lay down the foundations for better local production.

The author of 2011 Cannes nominee After the Battle came to Dubai to share his ideas about cinema and the benefits of his famous critical eye. He spoke to Images Francophones about film production in the region.


Do you feel a difference in approach between countries where there is a history of cinema, like Iraq, and the Gulf countries where a film industry still needs to be built, like in the United Arab Emirates?

Not really. In this context, even in old countries like Egypt where cinema has existed for a very long time, and Iraq, where there has long been a tradition of filmmaking, the industry is in a totally catastrophic state.

I don't think that the problem of filmmakers today is whether there is a precedent of a film industry or not. The problem is that there isn't an industry today. A filmmaker is a filmmaker, whether there's an industry or not.

The question is how to make the film: as an independent, or as part of a machine that produces on a regular basis and creates its own system?

I believe, to the contrary, that the fact that there is no system gives more freedom, more flexibility to Gulf filmmakers.

Today, images have become international. I don't think there are any excuses in Africa of in the Gulf. 

Someone who wants to start making a film, with all these new technologies, has no right to say that he hasn't seen, that he doesn't know. He is not entitled to this pioneer naivety with which we were lenient in the 1960s, for example in African cinema with its clumsy storytelling. 

They said that this naivety we saw in films was cultural. But in very poor countries in Africa, some -- such as Idrissa Ouedraogo and Gaston Kaboré, to name but a few -- could exist as filmmakers. They were able to develop a real cinematic language as a true solution, and pose narrative and technical questions...

How can we improve the situation of cinema, according to you?

By making films. There is no other way. This doesn't mean saying, "We should do this, we should do that,"
 but positioning oneself as a filmmaker, not as a spokesperson.


Source: Images Francophones

Photo: Télérama

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