Film Festival 2015: People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award is one of the most popular awards given at the Film Festival. This year the film was a powerful piece on global labor abuse and workers rights, told from the perspective of an exploited construction worker.  This is the first nomination and win for director Mohammed Ali Faisal, a student at Birla Public School in Doha.

We caught up with the Director and asked him a few questions about the film.

What inspired you to make this film?

Films have been my passion since a very young age. I saw the THIMUN Northwestern film festival as an opportunity to show my family what im capable of as a filmmaker and that pursuing filmmaking wouldn’t be a bad choice. The very fact that construction workers are being over exploited all around the world is what made me choose the subject of my film as construction workers. Amal Muftah’s Hamali was definitely an inspiration in a way because my film somewhat deals with the problems similar to those faced by Hamalis.

What were some of the technical challenges you faced when making your film?

The main issues were the lack of equipments and experience. A tripod and camera were the only things I had during filming other than the script. I had to rely on my knees and things like bathing towel for the dolly shots in the film. They, quite strangely, did work and in the end helped my film reach a Best cinematography nomination! My school was kind enough to lend me the voice recorder for narration and so the voicing went pretty ‘decent’. This, being my very first attempt in filmmaking, was in fact very hard to make due to the less knowledge I had about the process of filming. Others in the crew had as much knowledge as I had in filmmaking. That led to things worsening by stretching the production plan from just 2 days to 1 week!

 What did you learn while making this film? About the subject, about the craft of film making, or about yourself?

I realized that behind every piece of garbage comes a story that can be understood only by close observation and that’s where the role of films come in.  In fact many of the best shots in Sincerely Bahadur (I believe) were the result of my observation and wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t spent a little time to look out of the window of my car to see what was happening around.

 Have you become inspired to make more advocacy films in the future? Why or why not.

Yes of course! NOT making films has become an ‘out of the question’ thing for me. I shall be making more advocacy films based on even stronger social issues as I believe films are a better way of making people aware of a particular issue. (Also who wouldn’t miss a chance to win an award!).

 What was the BEST think about the film festival?

I felt that the desert filmmaking challenge was the best as it was something unique. To put it this way,the idea of testing a student’s creative skills in the middle of a desert is something which ,one wouldn’t find in a normal film festival and that is exactly what  makes the THIMUN Northwestern Film Festival special.