20/04/2012

Mohammad Al Huskhi and Rula Nasser explore Jordanian society in Coloured Feathers

At Med Film Factory’s Independent Film Assembly last weekend in Jordan, Euromed Audiovisual spoke with the Jordanian director and producer about Coloured Feathers, the new film they are working on after the success of their first feature film

Grant Project Activities, Jordan

“This film is me, nothing more nothing less…” says Jordanian writer and director Mohammad Al Huskhi of Coloured Feathers. “Living in this part of the world, the third world -my world- has always felt strange and unplanned… I have always felt out of place and time. If I can point out the dominant feeling I have had over the past 30 years of my life, I would say it is loneliness. But at the same time, what has always worried me is the fact that I can’t believe that I belong anywhere else but here!”

Coloured Feathers is a story about exactly that. I recently realized that my four characters represent every happy, strange, sick thought that has gone through my mind since childhood. Each one of them is looking for a place in the world, a place to call home… but then again who isn’t? It is a story about death and rebirth. Every character has suffered the cruelty of life and died… and as fate has it, they will all meet and suffer the pains of rebirth so they can all heal and live.”

Mohammad is a filmmaker who believes that films have the power to change the world. He has taken part in many projects teaching young people how to use film to advocate for the social and political issues they care about. A few years ago, he joined the Jordanian Royal Film Commission to implement and manage film clubs and encourage media literacy outside Amman.

His screenplay for Coloured Feathers was selected by the Rawi Sundance screenwriters’ lab in Jordan, in 2006. After the lab experience, Mohammad wrote several short films and continued working on his two feature projects. In 2009, one of his scripts was selected among five scripts from the Arab world for the Sud Ecriture writing lab.

In 2010, with the support of the RFC, Mohammad directed his first feature, a very low budget independent film, co-written by Ahmad Ameen and produced by Rula Nasser: Transit Cities. The film won the FIPRESCI award and the Jury Special award at the Dubai Film Festival 2010. After having produced and directed many documentaries and corporate videos, he is currently writing and directing a television series, as well as working on Coloured Feathers.

“The characters are not fictitious, Hasan, Ahmad, Hunkush, and Mais all live in Amman and share a tough and dangerous past. Somewhere along the line, they lost their souls and are now wandering through life waiting for the chance to become whole again.”

“Hasan and Ahmad are inspired by some of my childhood friends, while Hunkush is a mixture of real people and urban myths. Mais was inspired from books I read about women in the Arab world. The one dominant feeling each one of them has is loneliness, a feeling I believe everyone in this world can relate to.”

Coloured Feathers is an adventure thriller with a fantasy drama aspect to it and an universal theme: people looking for fresh starts and hoping for something or someone to rescue them.”

Producer Rula Nasser contributed to one of Al Hushki’s own fresh starts, producing his first award-winning feature film Transit Cities in 2010.

Rula started working in the film industry in 2000, working on a BBC series shot in Jordan. In 2006, she joined the Royal Film Commission - Jordan (RFC) as an Operations Manager and worked on most cultural and production programs developed there. She was also part of the team that established film clubs in Amman and other regions in Jordan. Rula established the Filmmakers’ Support Program at the RFC, helping emerging filmmakers to find their voices and develop their stories and cinematic language. She was also part of the team that established the Educational Feature Film program.

In 2011, she produced The Last Friday by Yahya Al Abdallah, which won three awards at Dubai Film Festival in 2011. The film was selected for the Berlin International Forum in 2012 and won the Special Jury Prize at the Fribourg Film Festival in Switzerland.

Rula has since left the RFC and established her own production company, The Imaginarium, and is the producer behind Waiting for P.O. BOX, the short film by Bassam Chekhes recently selected to compete at this year’s Cannes. She also has a feature-length documentary in post-production, My Love Awaits Me by the Sea by Mais Darwazeh, and a feature film in pre-production, The Curve by Rifqi Assaf, as well as many other projects in development, one of which is Mohammed Al Huski’s second feature film, Coloured Feathers.

“The first feature film that I produced was Transit Cities directed by Mohammad Al Hushki two years ago,” says the producer. “We shared the same vision and worked very well as a team. He is a very promising, talented, and passionate storyteller beginning to explore his society and identity.”

“When I read Coloured Feathers, I realised it had great potential, and that the rhythm and movement of the screenplay could reach a large audience.”

“The film explores the hidden sides of society, the taboos we have learnt to live with since childhood. Coloured Feathers unveils society’s complicated red lines, interwoven by traditions that shape modern urban life. What I love most about this story is the way it breaks norms that were planted in our minds and hearts, how it creates optimistic characters who believe in rebirth and have the will to change their destinies.”

Coloured Feathers has rich visual layers and [a rich] sound track. This is a story that calls out to be shown on a big screen.”

“The budget of the film is somewhat high in comparison with other local productions but it is because of the numerous locations, cast and special effects involved. Our financing strategy thus targets foreign and private investors to support the production. Through careful planning of key production values, including developing the screenplay, and including international cast and crew, we hope to deliver a fresh and exciting story.”

 

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