Magazine article Screen International

TIFF 2015: Hany Abu-Assad Talks 'The Idol'

Magazine article Screen International

TIFF 2015: Hany Abu-Assad Talks 'The Idol'

Article excerpt

Screen: Congratulations on your film's entry into TIFF. How did you come to it?

Abu-Assad: Thank you very much. I'm very happy. It started in 2013, the year I won the Un Certain Regard Special Jury prize in Cannes, which was very exciting. Actually, I was even more excited to hear that this young man was in the running for the Arab Idol title.

My sister told me the story about how he travelled to the competition against all the odds. When I got home from Cannes, I was there with thousands of people in a square hoping to hear his name announced as the winner. And I don't even like these programmes. Suddenly I was one of millions of people screaming and happy. Finally we had a kind of win after so many defeats and sadnesses.

About a year later I met with Ali Jafaar, who had bought the rights to the film, and he produced it with Amira Diab. It has had money from Palestine, the Netherlands, Qatar, Dubai and UK.

What was the biggest challenge during the shoot?

To balance the moving and melodramatic elements with the need for strong characters and story.

How difficult is it to get films made about Palestine today?

This is the first time I've tried to make a 'popular' movie. It can be a big challenge. Most of my films have been tragic. …

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