Amina Khalil beats out scores of young actresses in the Egyptian film industry. From concert singing performances to acting with TV and cinema veterans, Amina knows quite well what she wants. She travelled the world collecting valuable lessons in life and cinema. She learned acting, dancing, singing, getting ready to hit the entertainment industry in full gear.
Amina is this girl next door with this promising future. “I’m a great believer in the educational system regardless what you feel because there is always someone better than you and there is always going to be a master and a student”, she explains, “the concept of learning or education can be applied to serve anything whether it’s sewing, knitting, acting or photography, you should always learn from professionals. Acting is like a muscle you need to work it out all the time. You need to put lessons into your bag of tricks”.
Amina studied acting abroad and dancing during her summer breaks. She was a ballerina until she was 15 years old and then she moved to theatre, “I needed the dancing background in my life, I think it was a good hobby when you were little to dance hip-hop and go into talent shows”, she tells.
As a young actress, Amina participated in many Indie films before hitting home screens last Ramadan in ‘Sharbat Loz’ and ‘Taraf Talet’ series. She acted in a short film by Aida El Kashef called ‘Hadoota men Sag’ and another one by Mohamed Hamdeen Sabahy called ‘Motassel, Monfassel’ that were screened through self-promotion efforts. I’m very appreciative of all kinds of films regardless commercial or independent. For you to be a director and say that you want to make a film to send your message over, it takes a lot of guts, whether you spend twenty pounds or twenty million pounds. The problem in Egypt with the indie film scene is there isn’t a platform for indie filmmakers to screen their films. I did lots of independent films; only 3 films were shed light on. We don’t have an independent film festival for example. If filmmakers are lucky they will join festivals like ‘Asham’. The movie I acted in recently went to Doha Tribeca Film Festival. There is an audience and there are films but there isn’t a platform”, Amina elaborates.
It’s very true that everything happens in a time when it’s meant to be, and Amina knows all about that, “3 Years ago I was offered a film with a huge production and I thought that this is my big break and this is how I’m going to make it. Until today, this movie didn’t come to light. I thought that I missed my chance and I was very disappointed but after that, I acted in a short film that made it to Doha Tribeca Film Festival”, she tells enthusiastically.
With many male stars taking on cinema by storm, female actresses might find this more challenging, “there are many fantastic and competent actresses from Lebleba and Yusra to Hend Sabry and Yosra El Lozy, these different generations of female actresses are capable of leading a whole movie on their own. I think script writers need to believe that female actresses are capable of bringing money to the box office”, she comments.
For an actress in her 20’s, Amina faces lots of struggles to manage her career as she runs the 1000 miles with total independence, “There aren’t any casting agencies or agents, I sit and I sign contracts myself and I negotiate my finances on my own. You just need to be persistent as you are going to have people shut the door on you so many times”, Amina adds.
Do you believe in luck?
Yes and no. I believe in hard work that pays off, you need to work really hard and prove yourself to yourself and to the world. You can’t say I made it all by being lucky in life, that’s not how it goes, but It can happen every once in a while like a lucky strike or something.
Are we a lucky or unlucky generation?
Our generation is lucky and we should be thankful that we are in a time when we have lots of tools that weren’t available to previous generations. Technology made it easier to do a movie and upload it on YouTube. This idea of going ‘viral’ is a great thing as you get feedback on your work from the whole world. We have more self expression and there isn’t that much of oppression of age or gender.
What is the 7th heaven for you?
I would say that if I were able to have a balanced life by balancing my personal life with my career and personal growth. To find this balance is something we are all looking for amid this chaos we live in. We are constantly bombarded by several things and peer pressure that doesn’t end in your teenage years. It continues but takes different forms.
Do you know What Women Want?
We need to have a voice and be heard.