Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes 

               Filmmaker Interviews

Interview with filmmaker Simona Palladino 

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention “Age is Just a Bingo Number” a wonderful documentary participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Honorable Mention” in Best DocumentaryCategory.

 

“Age is Just a Bingo Number” is an ethnographic documentary featuring older  Italian migrants in Newcastle, gathering together in a leisure centre to play Bingo.

 

We found different aspects of the film particularly interesting, such as the cultural diversity the film is revealing. The originality of the film lies in the authenticity of these ordinary people and their everyday life. Thus, we interviewed Dr Simona Palladino, the director of the film, who is now working as a Lecturer at the Liverpool Hope University, to ask her what she experienced in our event.

 

Simona Palladino:

 

“I was delighted to be selected to the Mediterranean Film Festival of Cannes. I learned a lot from this experience and I am grateful to the organizers of the Festival for their feedback. It was a great pleasure for me, and for my working team as well at Newcastle University. When the film was nominated as “Honorable Mention” by Alexander, during the Awards Ceremony, I could not believe that it was really happening. I could not hide my happiness in that moment.

 

It was simply wonderful. You know why? This film was born from the dream of changing the reality of an almost invisible group of people.

I wanted to give them voice in order to express their needs and their feelings. Finally, the entire community of Italians in Newcastle is proud of this great achievement at the Mediterranean Film Festival.

 

Participants trusted me – and my working team- during the process of making this film, allowing me to document their reality. We could not imagine at that moment that the film could go that far, reaching the prestigious audience of Cannes Mediterranean Film Festival. Therefore, I could not thank enough the Organizers for this dream to come true.

 

Moreover, during the festival, I had the opportunity to meet many experienced film makers from all around the world. They all were more experienced than me and I was happy to confront my ideas with them. I enjoyed their company, and we had the opportunity to exchange ideas. I hope to stay in touch with them in the future and I wish all the them a brilliant career.”

            Interview with filmmaker  Jon Claire Lee

 

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention “Greed” a wonderful  future film participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Second Place” in the Feature Film Category.  We interviewed the director of the film Jon Claire Lee, to ask him about the idea behind, and the story and screenplay of Greed.  

 

 

Jon Claire Lee: 

 

 

"In 2016, my co-producer Asif Khan came to me with the original story for Greed, the tale of a teenager growing up in poverty in an Indian village. Abused by his father, Young Jay finally escapes into a world of drugs which promises him all the money and luxuries he has ever dreamt about. As his drug boss ex- pands into Australia, his destiny takes him to Sydney. Here he rises up within the ranks in a white man’s gangland empire and gains the trust of the godfather Enzo. “Being in favor” comes, however, at a heavy price. Jay is tortured by what is left of his conscience. All he wants is to make enough money to go back to India and rescue his parents, especially his mother, from poverty. 

What attracts me to the story of Greed is the power that family exerts on the individuals under its roof. As in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, the family is everything and all encompassing. As Jay gets more trusted by the godfather Enzo, more emotionally involved with Enzo’s niece Ruby and more hated by Enzo’s heir apparent Leo, the rules of the game close in on him. Once you are in the family, there is no escape. 

The screenplay by Robert Luxford allows all the major cast of characters to have their own lives explored and tested in this rollercoaster journey into depths of how to survive in this underworld of power and greed. We feel for all of them and what they are going through. Their strengths and, more importantly, their weaknesses lead them to their inevitable ends—whether that be salvation or total devastation. 

Greed is the story of how Jay gets taken in by Enzo’s family and is slowly consumed by the power and glamour on offer. Enzo also becomes the trusted father he never had. How Jay survives this journey or is ultimately destroyed by the family is the question that drives Greed towards its dramatic clim

Our film is honoured to be presented with THE 2ND PLACE AWARD in the Feature Film Category of the Mediterranean Film Festival of Cannes 2019.  The MFFC is very supportive of new and challenging international new works and directors.  We are privileged to be in the company of so many creative works represented in this year's festival.  Congratulations to all the artists!" 

Interview with filmmaker Emmanuel Duo

 

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention "Think Back"a wonderful  future film participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Honorable Mention” in the Feature Film Category.  We interviewed the producer of the film Emmanuel Duo, to ask him about  his motivation to make this film, the message behind, and the story and screenplay of Think Back.  

 

 

Emmanuel Duo:

 

"Think Back  is a feature film that depicts the culture of corruption and exploitation of the natural resources of the continent of Africa. 

 

I hailed from Liberia, West Africa. I grew up knowing that Africa is a very rich continent endowered with many minerals, and natural recourses and yet very deprived of basic services such as better health care delivery systems, better infrastructure, and better living conditions for all its citizens due to this age long pandemic of a culture of corruption that is plagued the continent. 

 

Due to the fact that, living abroad and seeing firsthand the level of improvement the western world has acchived, and yet Africa that is so rich in minerals and natural resources still can't compete in the global economy and has become heavily reliant on foreign donations to sustaine itself due to the lack of accountability, and transparency and bad governance grapple with corruption upon corruption. I needed to  make a movie to bring awareness to the continent due to this epidemic that has crippled Africa and its people for far too long.

 

Think Back  is geared towards creating public awareness and reawakening as to the devastating effect of corruption on the continent of Africa and its people. And to spread the message that corruption is an enemy of Africa and we need to stop it now by holding our leaders to account by advocating for war and economic crimes, and to bring to justice those who spared Africa's natural resources while in leadership during their turn. 

 

The Idea of the film is to bring  awareness  about corruption and foreign exploitation of Africa's natural and mineral resources and expose the pandemic of the cultural of impunity in Africa. Corrupted leaders go free without being prosecuted and held accountable for their actions while in public offices. This has to stop.The screenplay written by  Bumba Ibrahim and  Ellywhimsical Eldora Elly (Lion), was essential to bring this story to screen. 

 

My sincere gratitude to the Organizers of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes for the  Honorable Mention presented to our film."

Interview with filmmaker Arzu Qaderi

 

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention "My Afghan Diary"a wonderful  short documentary participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Best Short Documentary” in the Short Documentary Category.  We interviewed the director of the film Arzu Qaderi to ask her about  her motivation to make this film, and her experience in the festival. 

 

 

Arzu Qaderi:

 

"I was so humbled for my debut documentary film 'My Afghan Diary' to have been selected to be apart of the programme at Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes and to go on to win an award in the category "Best Short Documentary". Every support has been much appreciated and I'm so glad to have contributed to what is a truly amazing film festival. 

 

'My Afghan Diary' was filmed in the September of 2017 when I  travelled to my birthplace: Afghanistan, for the first time since childhood. This was my  first ever documentary  to provide a platform for Afghan women to tell their rich and nuanced stories, through championing empathy and empowering women to speak their mind.

 

The interviews focus on strong women working within the media sector and seek to understand how despite the odds they have succeeded within a war-torn and patriarchal society. These women are inspirational role models to future generations of women and girls in Afghanistan and beyond; showing immense strength and bravery when faced with the outside world being in a state of disharmony."

Interview with Filmmaker Paul Check

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention “Rounded Corners” a wonderful  future film participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Best Feature” in the Feature Film Category.  We interviewed the director of the film Paul Check, to ask him about the idea behind,the screenplay, and the message of Rounded Corners,but as well what he experienced in our event.

Paul Check: 

 

"On the surface, Rounded Corners is a story about a motherless 13-year old girl and her new carefree babysitter as they explore New York City over summer vacation. At first, the girl and the babysitter have little in common. The girl is horribly afraid of insects, and the babysitter learns that the girl is also afraid to ask her father what happened to her mother.
 

Over time, as the girl and the babysitter grow closer, the babysitter encourages the girl to find the truth. Near the end of the summer, after learning several important life lessons, including finding balance and discovering the passion to live, the girl finally pushes her father to discuss the uncomfortable truth. Once the girl has come to terms with her history, she can finally live free.
 

I wrote this script to represent the struggles that we have, as individuals, and as society, to find true meaning in life, to overcome hardship, and to live life to the fullest. Just under the surface, Rounded Corners is really about all of us!  The film presents a quirky and fun way to reflect on our own lives, as viewed through the journey of these two people.
 

We Live, Therefore We Are!

The Mediterranean Film Festival  Cannes was a beautiful experience in an amazing location. The selected films all shared a true zest for life and spanned a wide range of film types, reflecting the wide range of interests and the human touch evident in the organizers' hearts. 

 

The participants of the festival provided excellent feedback in Q&As after each film, and continued the discussion into the various restaurants and bars in town.  We quickly bonded as a group and discussed film topics well into the evening. 

 

I feel that the organizers cared about the films as works of human art.  The documentaries were all very touching and clearly projects that drew upon the personal passions of the directors.  And the narrative features were a range of fun, quirky and compelling stories.  

 

Thank-you to the organizers for selecting Rounded Corners for this very special experience.  We hope to see you again in Cannes in the not-too-distant future!"

Interview with Screenwriter Todd Sorrell

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention "Parousia" a wonderful  screenplay  participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Honorable Mention” in the Feature Screenplay Category.  We interviewed the screenwriter  Todd Sorrell, to ask him about the idea behind ,the story, and the message of Parousia.

Todd Sorrell:

 

 

"Parousia was a culmination of many forces coming together. I had finished my Linguistics degree in college and was fascinated with the history of words. They’re rich with meaning and stories and “Parousia” was one of them. It has a double meaning. With a lower case “p”, it means the appearance or presence of something in Greek. With an upper case “P”, it has the meaning of the 2nd coming of Christ. There are many words with this kind of evolution. “Holidays” vs. “holidays” for example.

But ultimately it’s my fascination with the Creation story that compelled me to write. There’s something about the Garden of Eden legend that rings true to me – the amazing design of its inhabitants, and the intention of blissful harmony amongst all creatures

 

 All intended to unfold and progress so long as wisdom was the top desire of the first man and woman. Nothing is free, everything has its price. Even before the introduction of sin, Adam and Eve had a responsibility, they had to exercise their spirit muscles, in order to sustain and evolve their incredible life with their Creator. They were not 2-dimensional cartoon characters the way some like to depict the biblical couple. They walked a tight wire of constant decision-making every moment of their lives.

I wanted to depict this hidden struggle, the reality of being in the Garden before the great fall. I didn’t want to come at people waving a Bible in my hand. I wanted to come at them sideways. So I took the familiar story and added twists, keeping the core elements of sin and redemption intact. More than anything I intended to show the angst, the nitty-gritty burden of being forced to exist with the constant weight of guilt on their hearts. So “Parousia” is a love story that became a thriller with multiple surprises.

Living in a world with so many problems and scary events, I want to redirect attention to this overlooked topic of Creationism. Do we have a Creator, and if so, was I designed with a purpose in mind? Or am I just an experiment? An accident of random events? Hopefully the story leads people to self-examination, the discovery that we all are capable of excellent, beautiful things, as we were designed."

Interview with Screenwriter Dedra Stevenson

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention "Desert Magnolia" a wonderful  short screenplay  participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Best Short Screenplay” in the Short  Screenplay Category.  We interviewed the screenwriter  Dedra Stevenon, to ask her about,the story, and the message of Desert Magnolia. 

Dedra Stevenson: 

 

"Thank you for this interview.  I’m honored to be among your previous winners, and I hope to be again in the near future. 

 

My short film, Desert Magnolia, was based on my Southern Crime novel of the same name.  Desert Magnolia is the story of a small-town woman, Daniella, from the American South who marries a man from the United Arab Emirates.  She left behind everything from her past, to start a pioneering future in a brand-new culture. 

 

I wrote the screenplay with this message in mind: Racism, Ethnocentrism, Homophobia and Islamophobia, like all other toxins, can tear families apart. At the end of the day, we are all alike, and we must learn to live together in harmony if the world is to survive. Desert Magnolia is one family’s triumph over hatred

 

I am so honored to have received Best Short Screenplay last year.  This award helped me land other screenwriting jobs and provided me with the professional validation that I needed.  I have also worked on developing my talent, and I now feel that I’ve reached a whole new level of storytelling. I only wish that I had been able to make the journey to France to receive the award in person. Thank you for this incredible honor, and I’m so glad to have a Feature Screenplay submitted for the 2020 Festival"

Interview with filmmaker Jacqui Fifer

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to bring to your attention "The Portal" a wonderful  feature documentary  participated to 2019 edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, that was nominated “Honorable Mention” in the Feature Documentary Category.  We interviewed the director Jacqui Fifer to ask her about,the idea behind,  the making of the film, and the  message of  The Portal.

Jacqui Fifer:

The Portal  is an experiential documentary created as part of a bold, global vision to overcome the chronic levels of anxiety, depression, PTSD and trauma that we are facing today.

 

The film speaks to the need of the time! It brings to life the stories of six people who overcame great adversity using stillness and mindfulness, inspiring the audience to follow in their footsteps and realise the unique potential that all humans have to change our world–from the inside out.

Supported by insights from three of the world’s foremost futurists–and a robot–the film unfolds as a beautiful, audiovisual spectacle that takes the viewer on their own mindfulness journey through the pain, joy and memory fragments of life.

This film was the  brainchild of  Tom Cronin, an ex- financier  who turned global meditation expert  and my self.  I realised Tom’s dream of making  a film that would inspire people across the world to shift humanity into a new era by meditating daily.

Thank you  to the organizers of the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes, for selecting our film. 

Coming up next:

Intervview with fimmaker Jim De Koch