Sydney Film School documentary student, Ramy Daniel is among the current and past students that will be proudly representing our school at this week’s Antenna Documentary Film Festival in Sydney. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the prestigious film festival, which showcases the best in Australian, and international documentary and we at Sydney Film School are once again proud to be one of the major sponsors of the event. This year’s festival will run from October 13-18 2015 and will feature 47 films from 21 countries around the world.
Ramy Daniel’s short film, Bassam is a glimpse into the life of a refugee artist who is struggling through life while sick with multiple conditions and trying to keep up his great artworks. The film will be shown at the festival with On the Bride’s Side on Sunday October 18 at Verona Cinema Paddington at 1pm.
We would like to thank Ramy Daniel for taking time out of his busy Sydney Film School schedule of study and film making to have a talk to us about his film, Bassam and what being part of the Antenna Documentary Film Festival means to him.
Interview and article by Nicole Newton-Plater
Q: How did you make the decision to make a film about Bassam Jabbar?
A: I saw him at a free hot dogs give away barbeque at a church in Liverpool. We started chatting and he told me about where he was from and life story. I was very attached to all the things he told me and have experienced a few things he had, but the majority of what he have went through and the way he kept pushing against what life threw at him inspired me and made me want to share his story to inspire others as well.
Q: What were some of the challenges associated with making a film about Bassam?
A: Asking for permissions. I had to shoot with the camera hidden and rock focus wide open just by guessing the distance.
Q: There is very little dialogue in Bassam. Was this an advantage or disadvantage for the film?
A: It was definitely an advantage because I wanted to fit as many things as possible within the seven minutes I had and didn’t want to overload viewers with information and subtitles as his English wasn’t good.
Q: How did Sydney Film School encourage you to make a documentary that is about the life of Bassam?
A: I learned a lot from my documentary teacher Alejandra Canales. She was the one to inspire me and motivate me when everything was going bad for me in my life at that time.
Q: What have you learnt from the making of Bassam that you will take into your next film?
A: After winning a few awards at the school festival and being selected for Antenna Film Festival, I stopped doubting myself as I always thought I’m not good enough. This made me learn that a little effort with a little dedication can be very rewarding and I now have more confidence that can make me put more hard work into my next project to share my stories on a grater scale of audience.
Q: What are you looking forward to most about your film being screened at Antenna?
A: A long list of things and right on top of it is my name perhaps being more recognisable and heard through the screen as that in itself is not just something I can put on my CV, but also might benefit me by giving me an opportunity to tell more stories in the future.
Q: What attracts you to documentary filmmaking?
A: I feel more natural more myself when I shoot something that’s not staged and a true story, in general I like hearing peoples stories and always wanted to share them with others and having recently discovered that I could do better at telling the story through out the screen then any other way it motivates me to make more and more docos.