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I feel proud and happy for Amer, Raghda and their beautiful wonder family, and very honoured that they gave so much to make this film – it is the most special film I have made to date in my career.
For the first few years that you were filming with Amer and his sons, Raghda was in prison.
At first – just as Amer had been – she was very stilted with the camera and naturally untrusting.
But the longer I stayed with them the closer I got.
What was it like to meet and film with Raghda for the first time, after you’d created a bond with the family in her absence? very scary after a long filming the family in her absence I’d found a place with them in the family but when she came out of prison I felt like a stranger again a bit, like I had to start again and in way I did.
I prefer to slip in and out and film in a small light hand held way in a casual way, capturing scenes and moments in life after missed by big film crews.
What compelled you to keep going back to film, without any commission or support until late in the process?
We weren’t commissioned or supported to make the film until quite late in the process so I didn’t really know if the film would ever see the light of day but I kept going back to see them as friends and filming – I couldn’t stop myself.
It is this involvement in the process of filming that I find most fascinating (and try encourage emerging filmmakers to harness) I’m always surprised as a filmmaker to witness the brutal honesty of people when they are naked and open in front of your camera.
It is a painstaking process – it takes years to get inside, so that people are not just acting out their lives in front of your camera but using you and a projected audience to help make sense of the world they find themselves in.