When We Listen
A Film By
Amr “Alexandrian” Moustafa
When We Listen
Is a 15-minute short film, showing the everyday struggle of Amal, a 20-year-old Syrian female who does not speak English. After losing all her family and being forced to leave the life she once knew, Amal sought refuge in Canada seeking safety, a chance to live again, and finding a place that she could once again call home.
When Amr moved to Canada, he realized that he has much to learn to keep up with the new artists and filmmakers nowadays. He knew that instead of the “old-school” way, he must study and improve his skills in directing and writing.
Amr believed that art is art everywhere in the world. Regardless of his poor English, he understood that a language barrier will not stop him from expressing himself and his art to a new audience.
When he arrived in Canada, he started his journey towards his dreams by going to RDC to study motion picture art. During the fall term in his third year, he had the opportunity to pitch for winter term projects, and as an artist believed that his work should carry a message to the audience.
In view of recent events, Amr decided that the timing was right, to show a different angle on the story of refugees. He wanted to show how the refugees might feel to live in a country that was not their own, how it feels to be alone among people who do not speak their language — when doing the simplest thing in life such as grocery shopping could be such a difficult and scary task.
Amr got the opportunity to produce this short film with RDC and was finally given the chance to send his message to the audience: that we don’t need to speak the same language to understand each other or to feel for each other.
This film required shooting on a city bus and inside a grocery store for 5 days. Since it was a student film and the college could not afford to rent a bus or a grocery store to use for three nights, Amr did not hesitate to approach the City of Red Deer and the grocery store company to ask them for help. Their response was nothing short of awesome; everyone was willing to help and volunteer.
The City of Red Deer volunteered and gave us a city’s bus for a whole day.Amr asked his friends “the professional bus drivers” to help him with his film, so they volunteered their time to drive the bus around the city while shooting for eight hours.
This short film is simple and carries a simple message. However, The amount of people who helped us put this film on the big screen taught us an important message: that we all need each other to keep going in this life.
Amr started the shoot on Feb 4th/2017 and finished on March 5th/2017.
A 5-day shoot in total. a 30 hours shoot.
Three hours were devoted to production meetings and three hours to rehearsals.
Amr had to contact Universal Music Group to obtain the copyright of the song “Lean On Me” because he felt as a director that the song perfectly relays his message and matches the idea behind his film. A Quartet from RDC performed it.
MY GOALS FOR THIS FILM
What I wanted to achieve with this film is to send a message that we are all human. We all deserve to have a life lived in safety and a second chance. We all need someone to truly listen to us. It does not take a lot of effort to understand each other even if we don’t speak the same language. All we need is to open our heart and listen to each other.
I wanted everyone to participate in my project. I asked everyone about his/her opinion and wanted them to feel comfortable doing it, and which position he/she needed more practice on. I gave them chances to do what they liked the most and try to not limit their creativity.
As for my position, the perfect time to shoot was in February when it was cold and lots of snow on the ground. It truly helped to show how life could be tough on a non-Canadian person.
After waiting seven weeks for the Editor to give Amr a rough cut, Amr wasn’t satisfied with the end results so Amr decided to Edit it himself and was a good experience to learn how to use final cut to edit.
Amr showed his film at Welikoklad Centre Red Deer on 28th and 29th of April and the feedback from the audience was amazing.
Amr now working on a final version of his film and his plan is to submit it to few film festivals in north America and Europe.
wish us a good luck.
To know more about the film and watch the interview of the amazing people helped me finishing my film please click here