Tolerance is a film about peace, understanding and accepting the other. It is a film about the unification of humanity regardless of our religion, culture, race and language. It is a film filled with love and understanding of each other. It was our pleasure to interview Nasser Aldhaheri, the director of Tolerance.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on? From a young age I was a lover of literature and arts, and after I graduated from university with a major in Mass Media and French Literature, my graduation project from the university was a short film that talks about national identity and the threats that could be exposed to it, called "The Yellow Locust", but the world of written journalism and literature took me at the beginning of my life, but the cinema was one of my deferred dreams, which touched my memory constantly, until 2012, when I decided to go to cinematic work after I had completed 13 books between short stories, novels, articles, travel literature and photography books, most of which were translated into 8 international languages.
My first film was long documentary "A tale of water, palm trees and family" won 21 international awards, it is a deep-rooted journey in the UAE’s land, people and culture, through the trilogy of water, palm trees and people; the main components of UAE’s civilization.
A tribute in memory of those who worked hard in the past, and a reminder to future generations that today’s prosperity was made by the sweat and blood of the ancestors who carved rock for water, and cultivated palm trees for life.
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a filmmaker and why? I am inclined to realistic cinema, and I am fascinated by documentary and experimental films, because I feel that it is closer to explaining human cases. I care a lot about the pain of the human being, as everyone must be with sad person to support him and support him in overcoming his sorrows. As for the joy of a person, he is able to fly with his happiness, or dance naked and barefoot, happy person can express himself a lone. Also, among my interest are works that have a philosophical or spiritual dimension or the search for Sufism in all areas, and Sufism, by which I mean asceticism and emotional purity.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker in the film industry? The most important challenge faced by the independent filmmaker is financing. Cinema today is an industry more than it is a culture. When cinema was a culture, many countries contributed and supported meaningful cinema through government support funds. Today these goals ended with the diversity of mass media. One of the challenges is also the difficulty of finding parties convinced of the above, so you have to search a lot, which consumes your time, postpones your dreams, and makes your creative work double, because you are the only player in that stadium so sometimes you get tired of running behind a mirage, but the will makes the impossible, and allows the production of films Low budget, big impact.
How difficult is it to fund indie films Independent filmmakers should always look for independent funding establishments, whose goal is to create knowledge, support culture, and create fine arts, establishments that have a conviction in the human achievement of high value for the development of societies, understanding the different other, and building bridges of cooperation and convergence away from violence, fanaticism and exaggerated self-glorification. Non-profit organizations do not view art as a money-generating business, sometimes the benefit that a civilized person can gain from working in art is that it creates a green and common space between people to live in calm and peace.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work? There are many international directors who inspire the creative man to improve his work and embrace his art. I owe many works to my love for cinema, and I prefer that the father of fine artistic cinematic works influenced me, and they are not directors. Nevertheless, I love the works of the Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa, and the Italian director, Fellini And the Spanish director "Almodovar" and the Egyptian director "Youssef Chahine" and many others from Britain, America, France and Russia.
What inspired you to work on Tolerance and how did the film go into production? In the United Arab Emirates, it is announced annually before the end of the year that the next year will be a year of supreme human value or a supreme humanitarian symbol that gave goodness to humanity, and before the end of 2018 it was announced that 2019 is the year of tolerance, from here the idea came, so I proceeded to make my work personal creativity, my contribution to supporting this demonstration, and flying it outside the Emirates, because I am one of the people most admired by the idea of tolerance, which is the only one that can make the world live in safety, peace, love, freedom, equality and brotherly coexistence. Each letter of tolerance in Arabic means one of the values of tolerance, so love, brotherhood, coexistence, freedom, peace, equality and others appeared, so that was a short 15-minute film, but it was full of poetic language and a warm human sense, and the meanings of tolerance appeared in the UAE such as; A Christian builds a mosque for the Muslim employees of his company to pray, 90,000 children from the UAE were born by Christian doctors and nurses through the Kennedy Hospital 1960-2000, the Abrahamic House that includes a mosque, a church and a synagogue, the first Hindu temple in the Emirates, Tolerance Street in Abu Dhabi, the Tolerance Bridge in Dubai, and other examples.
How did you find the cast and the crew of the film? Tell us more about the production of the film and working on the set of the film to create this feature. I did not rely on professional actors, because the nature of the film is different. I used ordinary people to play silent roles, from different nationalities, genders and religions to show the nature of tolerance. The main players in the film are the writer, director and camera man, and I used to play these three roles, then the film editor, and this we lived together for two months in different cities to complete this work, I sought help from camera men in different countries to give me the flavor I needed for the film. I had to go to Tatarstan to shoot a scene of the temple of different religions, and we went to the desert to shoot the Ghaf tree “Prosopis”, which was a symbol of the meaning of tolerance. This tree always gives and does not expect anything from anyone. Even water depends on its roots to find it in the thirsty sands.
What do you recommend to other filmmakers regarding the distribution of independent feature films? Distribution is a problem facing independent filmmakers, but distinguished films can enter international festivals, as it is a nice opportunity to get acquainted with different cinemas from different countries, as well as through distribution market on their sidelines, and it is also possible to agree with movie shows on smart applications platform. There is a limit to this aspect of introducing independent works that are distinguished by their cinematic language.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on? I have been working for more than a year and a half on a long experimental film. The film talks about the philosophy of time, called " Goddess of Time", and in it I follow the most important milestones in a person's life since the beginning of creation, where time was a commonplace, but with his attendance, man began to think about time and make calculations for it. He relates it to natural accidents such as floods of rivers, volcanoes, rains and storms, then he became philosophizing time with its sophistication and preparation, for war is a time, for love is a time, for the agricultural season is a time, for social rituals is a time, time is besieging people everywhere, all of this is present in the film in a visual language and sometimes silent, after which I evoke the wall clocks of the major cities in the world, which I portrayed through my long travels as witnesses of time, as guardians of cities, and then the film ends with the cruelty of time on human faces, and how the time leads it while sticking to the stick towards their graves, as the last farewell to this running behind time, the slogan of the film: “Time was empty, then mankind consumed it”
Why do you make films? It is difficult to say to a poet why do you embroider a poem in the eyes of your sweetheart. It is difficult to tell the painter why the butterfly did tempt you with its harmonious colors, and you did mess with the brush and dyes, so is the filmmaker, and the movie lover. Except that it is love and happiness, and that purification he feels When a movie is finished, and it is shown in that cold and dark room, cinema is for me a childish joy that I hope will never end.
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"A tale of water, palm trees and family"