The script of Homebound is written by Joud AlAmri. She is an emerging writer, director and producer who grew up in the Middle East and was always aware of the increasing gap between cultures of the east and the west. The story of Homebound is about an aspiring young writer, Norah, who leads a mundane life in Los Angeles until her father’s passing uncovers family secrets that send her on an unexpected journey.
During the reading of her father’s will, Norah finds out that the majority of her father’s inheritance, along with his cherished journals, are now in the hands of his secret second family. Norah sets out to confront the family and claim what she believes is hers.
Reluctant to let Norah face the family alone, her protective brother Abe goes along with her. Their journey together not only mends their strained relationship but helps them find solace in the most unexpected of people, their half-sister Hannah.
AlAmri started making films with the intention of shedding light on a region that may seem alien to the rest of the world.
With a background in design and a number of photography exhibitions under her belt, AlAmri employs a unique aesthetic within her storytelling. We recently spoke to AlAmri regarding the writing of Homebound.
What motivated you to work on writing Homebound?
Homebound is the first feature-length script I wrote after years of only writing short films. It was the obvious next step for me as a filmmaker and writer and a challenge that I had to set for myself in order to grow as a storyteller.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you created?
I started making films during my junior year in college. I wrote a script titled Destructive Modus and I was able to bring a bunch of my colleagues and friends together as a crew and I got to direct it. It was a lot of fun to make and a huge learning experience for me at the time.
What inspired you to start writing scripts and what was the first script you wrote?
I knew early on that I wanted to direct films and I’ve always had a love for writing, so as soon as I learned the basics of formatting a screenplay, I just kept writing scripts that I could make and direct myself. Destructive Modus was my first script, but I would say my second script Belonging, is where I started to develop my personal writing style and my voice as a filmmaker.
How difficult is it to fund independent films and what are some of the challenges of taking your script to production?
It’s different for every film depending on the needs of a particular production, but ultimately I would say it’s being able to communicate your vision well enough to get others excited for your film and to believe in its story just as much as you do.
Do you prefer to direct your scripts and turn them into films? Why?
I prefer it because I’ve gotten used to working that way. I enjoy the process of turning a single concept into a script then to a film. There’s something quite special about seeing characters on a page eventually come to life on a screen.
Which genre is your most favorite genre to work on? Why?
Drama is the genre I find myself always going back to because I think it allows for a lot more room when it comes to character development and building tension within a story. It also gives me the freedom to include a number of sub-genres be it comedy, romance, action, and so on.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
Producing Homebound is definitely on the list and I’m currently writing a new script as well as collaborating with a dear friend on an experimental piece that I’m quite excited about.
How can cinema and films have an impact on society and change the world?
I think cinema has always been one of our greatest and most influential means of communication. The fact that it has become so easily accessible nowadays just means there’s a greater opportunity and a wider reach for filmmakers to share meaningful stories from all around the world, which hopefully results in people feeling a little closer and with a better understanding of each other.
Why do you want to make films and what gives you satisfaction to work on creative projects in the media?
I get a lot of satisfaction from the simple fact that I get to communicate with an audience through my stories and their characters and if that happens to open up a conversation or get someone to relate, then all the better.
Please name three of your most favorite filmmakers who have been influential to your work and please tell us the reason for being inspired by their work.
I look to Scorsese and Coppola not only for their obvious auteurism but also for their ability to infuse their own backgrounds and culture into their films and how that ultimately results in the creation of rich and complex characters. I also appreciate Wes Anderson’s immense level of detail in creating extraordinary worlds and how he successfully guides the audience through them with ease.