GUIDING LIGHTS: MAHDI FLEIFEL ON HIS NEW FILMS
21 November 2016
We've asked our Guiding Lights 7 participants to share their journeys and experiences. Here, director Mahdi Fleifel tells us about his time at Amsterdam's Binger Filmlab, a unique post-academic development and training programme, and his forthcoming films.
In a way, Binger Filmlab was the perfect next step for me after The National Film School in that it’s a lab for emerging filmmakers with a concrete project, so not so much focused on learning the craft as providing a space to channel what I learned at film school into a personal feature project. It was here that I further developed the ideas for Men In The Sun, completed a draft and secured financial backing for the next stage of preparations.
I still have close ties with London, a city I lived and worked in for eight years and where my company Nakba FilmWorks is still based, but the Binger Filmlab has opened up new opportunities for me, both personally and professionally. It has allowed me to set up a solid creative base in the wonderful city of Amsterdam, and introduced me to a wider network of filmmakers, both local and international.
Since completing the Binger Filmlab in January 2015, I’ve been working on three different projects. The first, which I developed at Binger, is the feature film Men In The Sun, which I hope to begin filming in the summer of 2016. It’s the story of three Palestinian refugees, set against the backdrop of social collapse in Greece, and how they finally manage to escape Athens.
The second is a new documentary entitled A Man Returned about a Palestinian from Lebanon who didn’t have much luck in Europe and, after three years of living on the streets of Athens, returns to his old life in the refugee camp. I recently finished editing the film and am now preparing for its premiere in early 2016.
I am thrilled to be part of GL7 and to have the wonderful privilege of being mentored by Stephen Frears. I feel that I’m just in the right place at the right time, and with the right people supporting my next adventure.
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