1-Your cinema is always away from traditional templates in discussing ideas and the method of photography and montage.. do being a photographer is the reason behind that ?
Working on pictures is always about self expressing, either moving pictures or still photography, in each frame there is a story. Sometimes the story is very visible, and other times it is hidden and waiting for the viewer to reimagine and reveal it. I always liked ambiguity in art, I liked making films that has a lot of what is “untold”. I believe the photography is somehow the art of the untold, the story we all have to imagine beyond this still frame.
2-Why are you interested in the issue of social segmentation in most of your work, specifically in your last film, Exterior Night?
Cairo is the reason, living is such a diverse city, it is impossible not to notice the huge difference between neighborhoods, visually and culturally. I’m more interested in the second I worked in contemplating the thought of how we are all capable to live together and cross the boundaries. In my film Exterior/Night I found such “game” was easier to explore via the story of the prostitute, the filmmaker and the taxi driver trapped in a car/city all night long, and they are suddenly forced to know each other in more realistic means.
3-You are a talented photographer from years why did you decide now to launch your first photography exhibition?
I don't know if I’m talented or not, all what I know is that I truly love expressing through the lens. For me, filmmaking was my first choice for telling stories for over a decade. Meanwhile photography was more a misty area for me, but with the guidance of TINTERA gallery co-founders Zein Khalifa and Heba Farid, and with the support of many friends and artists, I managed to overcome my worries and I started to print dozens of photographs. Discussing the photographs with the TINTERA team, was an experience that made me reach photography in new way - holding the physical photograph and working on it has spoken to me in a unique way and I hope it would also speak to the audience of the exhibition.
4-Why did you name your first photography exhibition “Deceiving Time”?
No concept fascinates me as time does; that ancient notion that crosses us as we cross it, like an invisible stream. My classical music training, over twenty years ago, inducted me into considering our temporal relation with tempo. As a filmmaker, time became my primary tool of constructing reality. Why do certain images occupy our hearts and nestle in the corners of our minds? Does the significance of the time and place when these moments occurred guarantee supremacy in recollection? Or is it possible that they are but leftover ruins of other forgotten moments, ones that preceded and followed the recollected moments? For all of that, I found Deceiving Time was a good title to describe the world we are presenting in this exhibition.
5-Tell us more about the feedback you got about Deceiving Time exhibition
I was very happy to meet artists and friends discussing photography, visually and conceptually. As we all are exposed to over 10,000 pictures a day, I don't think that we spend enough time to discuss them and study how we relate to them.
It was amazing how many students came to the gallery and for many of them it was the first time they ever visited a gallery! We spoke about the photos, the printing experience and how unique it is to see an exhibition with proper lighting and carefully curated works compared to scrolling hundreds of photos in our devices. I believe the thing I’m proud of the most in this experience is introducing a new generation to the world of printed photos. Keeping in mind that we have very few venues in Egypt specialized in photography, I am grateful to have had the chance to work with TINTERA on my first exhibition.
6- Does being a good photographer helped you more to master your tools as a director?
Understanding pictures and composition is a tool within itself, but to be a filmmaker is not about the picture, it is more about life, human beings and ideology in my humble opinion. Then how to work with actors to express a subtle idea or emotion. Mastering photography is a great tool indeed, but you can’t make a film by cinematography only. But knowing the lens and the power each can provide is a great asset.
7-You are always interested in roaming the streets of Cairo with your camera,to what extent have you been influenced by the cinema of the late director Mohamed Khan?
Since my beginning I never liked to film in a studio, I would always choose a real street over constructing it, and I let myself go with the flow of the street and its passengers. It doesn't mean I oppose shooting in studios! great films like El-Kitkat were filmed almost entirely on a film set, but personally I liked the adventure of the street and allowing it to surprise me and allowing myself to be open to what will happen in such a crazy city like Cairo and Alexandria. It is not an easy task but I believe it is very rewarding.
Such terminologies were created by the media,I would even say by lazy media writers. It was easier for them to quickly categorize everything instead of dive a little deeper and see if the film is actually intersects with many concepts and genres. Such classification made cinema for me feels like a supermarket, a section for candies and another for shampoos. This is not how I see films, personally I try not to use such terminologies as much as I can, if I’m forced to use a category I use the classic genres, I say the film is action, musical, comedy, keeping in mind that the film can contain many genres as we all know.