Interview with Ms. Nadine Salib (Egyptian Filmmaker)
Arts reflect the soul of any country
Cultural exchange for mutual understanding between Japan and the Middle East
The Sasakawa Middle East Islam Fund invited Ms. Nadine Salib, a prominent filmmaker who has won various awards at film festivals around the world,to hold a movie screening session. As an Egyptian, a filmmaker and a woman, she offered her views about films, Egyptian society, cultural exchange and her feelings toward Japan.
―"Um Ghayeb" is a very intriguing title. What did you want to communicate through this film?
When I initially wanted to make the film, it was because I was intrigued so much by the phrase, 'Um Ghayeb (= Mother of the Unborn).' For me, it sounded a bit poetic but also melancholic. I met a woman called Hanaan, who was very inspiring. She inspired me in a sense that I don't want to make a film about a woman who is trying to have a baby. I just want to make a film about a human being who is trying to reach a dream that you will never achieve. What if this dream comes true? Will this give him / her happiness? Or is happiness just an illusion? This is the question or premise of the film.
― How was your film-making process? Did you encounter any difficulty or struggle in the process?
Upper Egypt (where the film is set) is a bit far from Cairo, where I come from. The culture is so different, but it's very stereotyped in a sense. Being a woman, I cannot, for example, rent a flat. We had a hard time filming sometimes because at that time, the place wasn't politically very stable. Some people were very skeptical of us being there with cameras and other equipment. Actually we got caught twice.
― You seem to have very strong willpower and strength. What does that mean to be a female filmmaker in Egypt?
Well I am just very perseverant. I am trying to push myself to my limits and not to lose faith. I know many other female Egyptian filmmakers. They have done films that traveled the world and won prizes. In order to survive in this industry, we are all coming from the same principle of perseverance, not just because of the country, but also because filmmaking is not very easy.
― The Sasakawa Peace Foundation is a not-for-profit private organization with no political constraints, offering a variety of programs to society. What roles do you expect us to play in the future?
I think it is very important to maintain cultural exchange because Japan has been a very great influence on Egyptians all along. I know many people around me who are very passionate about Japanese culture, arts and films. Also allow platforms for both Japan and the Middle East to know each other and learn more about different aspects. It is my view that arts are always something that really reflects the soul of any country. It is very essential that we find someone who can bridge our differences.
Play the video below for a full interview with Ms. Nadine Salib.