Malak Badawi’s “The Rollercoaster” Wins Silver Hipatia Award for Best Short Film at Alexandria Short Film Festival

Rollercoaster Movie Poster

‘Rollercoaster’ depicts a young woman’s inner monologue as she wrestles with the concept of true love. Malak Badawi directed, wrote, edited, and starred as the protagonist in it. We sat down with her to know all about it.

What inspired you to create “The Rollercoaster”?

Malak Badae in a still from Rollercoaster
Malak Badae in a still from The Rollercoaster

I get inspired by my own life experiences. I enjoy bringing my thoughts and feelings to life and sharing them with people, I feel like that’s what makes my work relatable. Every woman can relate to ‘The Rollercoaster’.

What do you hope to convey with your film?

I don’t really want to convey anything, I just want people to take a moment to think about their own perception of the issue I raised in the film.

“The purpose of Art is to make people think without telling them what to think, it’s very subtle. It ends up expanding their horizons.”

I want people to come out of the film feeling something that is only up to them for interpretation.

Rollercoaster depicts a young woman wrestling with the idea of ‘true love’. Would you say her struggle is a trademark for the young generation?

 I don’t feel like the film speaks to a specific generation, I feel like it speaks to everyone in general. If you ask anyone how they perceive true love, they wouldn’t be able to give you a straight answer. Or, they’ll say something now then change their answer 5 years later.

Still from “The Rollercoaster”

What do any of us really know? As people, our personalities change with time, and our expectations of the people we love change. People always say they want stability and yet, they get bored of the routine! Everyone wants to feel loved and is scared to end up alone but they also don’t want to feel pressured.

“So, love for me is like a rollercoaster, it starts slowly, and then there are ups and downs and we keep going in shifts and circles.”

You’ve been a director, a screenwriter, a film editor, and an actress. What’s your favorite thing about each of those roles? What sides of you do they each bring out?

What I love about acting is that it makes me understand myself and others more. It helps me read people to an often terrifying degree! I realized this in the last workshop I took part in. I’ve developed an ability to read people even if what they’re saying isn’t really what they’re feeling.

“People amaze me with the spectrum of feelings they can experience; from joy to sadness to fear. Acting allows me to study the human experience.”

As cliché as this sounds, although I only get one life, acting allows me to live multiple ones. I often surprise myself with what I’m capable of expressing when I’m playing a role.

Malak Badawi in a still from "The Rollercoaster"
Malak Badawi in a still from “The Rollercoaster”

As for directing, I like being in control and in charge. As a director, you run the whole show.  When it comes to writing, I write best when it’s about my own experiences that affect me. Because it comes from the heart, people can connect with it.

I also love editing. It can really turn a film around. You have to cut the footage at the right time so people can feel at ease while watching and can get the feeling you’re trying to deliver.

 The film recently won an Award at Alexandria Short Film Festival. What’s been your proudest moment? Who helped bring your film to light?

 I was very happy of course. Especially because my grandfather always motivated me and pushed me to pursue directing. Back then, I was putting all my attention on my acting career. But I really enjoyed directing, it makes me really happy to bring my ideas to life.

I used to be so hard on myself in the past. I would say no it’s not enough, I can do more. But, this year I decided I’ll be proud of myself and my effort.

“I got great feedback, people from the audience even came to talk to me afterward. It was definitely a proud moment for me.”

Even if I didn’t win anything it would have been a proud moment.

As for who helped me, I’m so lucky to have my closest friends be so good at what they do! Salma ElKashef for example is an amazing cinematographer. She truly completed my vision. From my perspective, cinematography is the strongest aspect of any film, it allows people to truly dive into it. What added to this, of course, is the music. Shady Noor’s music took the film to a whole new level. Without these two people, my film never would have gotten anywhere. I’m very lucky to have such artistic friends.

For the future, Badawi plans to explore more areas of the artistic field and focus more on directing. She has a new series lined up and a Ramadan surprise!

“I feel like 2021 will be my year. I’m working really hard to be doing things I love and keeping it real.”



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