Inside the mind of a young movie maker: Aida El Kashef…

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Aida El Kashef, daughter of the late director, Radwan El Kashef has been my friend for over 10 years now. I must say, I have never met a person so tiny yet so full of life. She’s currently studying for her senior year at the Higher Cinema Institute, not precisely following in the footsteps of her father but attempting to accomplish her own vision as she believes that “whoever thinks he can follow the vision of another director even if it’s his own dad, is an idiot”.


F: First, let’s start off by an explanation of what does the concept of an independent movie mean?

 A.K: We can sum it up as the making of a movie away from the restrictions of a regular commercial movie, in the sense of the conditions set by the producer or not being able to choose the cast of actors or discussing a certain issue that could normally be a taboo such as sex or politics. The director gets to make the movie with his own vision without having to abide by any limitations. There isn’t the censorship implemented by the society.


F: Are independent movies getting more popular nowadays or are they still in the dark for most people?

A.K: Abroad, independent movies exist and are very famous such as the movies Juno and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. In comparison the blockbusters, they are relatively considered low-budget over there, but they still get to be commercialized and previewed in cinemas. In Egypt, up till now they were mostly short movies previewed in seminars, but this coming season, an independent movie will be released called “Ein Shams” followed by another that is still in post production called “Masr El Gedida” using a method called “Blow Up”.


F: And what exactly is that “Blow Up” concept?

A.K: Shooting an independent movie is mostly done using digital cameras because it’s cheap, the tapes are cheap, and the whole production process is simply cheaper. To use a cinematic camera will cost way more than that, so in this case the digital tape is converted to the regular 35mm film that is used in theater preview in a process that is costly but not as much as it would cost to film using the 35mm films. In this case the director gets to shoot the film managing everything the way he/she wanted and still getting the chance to commercialize the movie.


F: So, what does one benefit from working in this field of cinema?

A.K: When working in an independent movie, usually you don’t get paid, even if you do get paid; it’s minimal because these movies are low budget movies due to the circumstances in Egypt. Producers who have money will always force their visions which are the exact opposite of “Independent movies”. So when you decide to work in an independent movie, it’s your choice a 100%, no one is forcing you to do anything so there is a sense of cooperation between the whole crew. It’s more about creative work, and working with a low budget and finding your own solutions to the endless problems. At the end you feel the movie is your movie. When you direct an independent movie, blow it up and it succeeds, eventually you can direct a normal cinema movie on your own terms.

F: Are you currently working on any projects?

A.K: I was the Assistant Director” in the upcoming movie called “Masr El Gedida” and also an assistant in a movie for the famous Osama Fawzy called “Youssef wa Al Ashbah”


F: Who are the most important directors in the world of independent movie making?

A.K: The director of “Ein Shams” Ibrahim El Batoot, Tamer El Saeed the director of “Youm El Etneen” which is a short movie, of course Ahmed Abdallah director of “Masr El Gedida”.


F: Which of the new, young actors do you see as the most promising currently?

A.K: I think Asser Yassin, Karim Assem, Bassem El Samra who is not young but has recently starred in commercial movies; he has been working for ages in independent movies, and also Farah Youssef from “Waraet Shafra”.


F: Do you think that there is a future for the independent movies to become something more?

A.K: The “Blow up” technique is a temporary solution. It isn’t the aim. It’s just until we are capable of using 35mm films from the very beginning. Eventually it will become more but in baby steps because the audience got used to a certain theme and changing their vision will take time.


F: Are Egyptian independent movies noticed on the international scene?

A.K: Of course, short movies so far participate in competitions and foreign festivals and win a lot. From the movies that travelled and is known is a movie called “Clean hands, dirty soap” for Karim Fanous.


F: Who are your favorite directors?

A.K: Osama Fawzy is my personal favorite, Khairy Beshara, Mohamed Amin the director of Leilet Soqoot Baghdad.


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