Kasem Kharsa and Moustafa Zakaria are one of the director-producer teams selected for the first workshop of Biennale College – Cinema. Their project, I Dreamt of Empire, is a curious Egyptian sci-fi time-travel movie set after and during the Sinai War. We caught up with them and had a little chat about the experience of the workshop and their future.
Kasem told us that the workshop “definitely helped in the evolution of the project. I started the workshop with a skeletal plot and by the end of the two weeks left with a much richer, emotional version of the story.” But this was not just a matter of film and script development, but a real opportunity to share his experience with other young filmmakers from all over the world: “The workshop was also an excellent place to network and share with other filmmakers and their projects, especially those from the Middle Eastern region on issues surrounding micro-budget filmmaking in our part of the world”.
I Dreamt of Empire was one of the 12 projects not selected for the second workshop of the lab. But this didn’t discouraged Kasem: “Despite not getting accepted for the fund, I think the College made a great decision by encouraging further discussions between filmmakers and their respective advisor”. Moustafa told us that I Dreamt of Empire is no longer in his slate of projects, but it is still in Kasem’s one: “I am still continuing on with the project. I’m just now finishing up the first draft of the screenplay so that I can share it with my writing advisor from the workshop, Antoine Le Bos“.
But what’s in the next future of the director? He’s “of course planning to continue on making films in the near future. I definitely would like to further explore the possibilities of micro-budget films, in terms of artistic freedom and their challenges”. Which is exactly one of the main purpose of Biennale College – Cinema. “I’m working on another film”, Kasem added, “a more developed feature called Shelter that I will start shooting in 2014″.