(EXCLUSIVE) Interview with the Palestinian artist Lama Naamneh

2022 November 10

(EXCLUSIVE) Interview with the Palestinian artist Lama Naamneh

-Who is Lama Naamneh?

A Palestinian artist and first professional actress in my village

Holds a Bachelor Degrees (B.A) in Acting & Directing University of Haifa.

Actress, Theatre Director, Filmmaker and The Co-Founder and Manger of “kawaliss” The House of Theatre and Cinema.

At Theater as an actress participated in several international tours in Des Quartiers D’Ivry theater /France, National theater of London, participated in the Carthage Festival -Tunisia.

By the first African Nobel prize winner “Wole Soyinka” I performed tow of his known plays at “the National theater of Nigeria”.

“Ebdon university” and “The National theater of Sweden”.

” Choices” A monodrama as a writer and performer received an award of ” Masraheed Festival” “The best creative actress of 2013 “.

Directed several theater productions as “Blood weeding”, ” “Macbeth”, “Fate of a Cockroach”, “The Executioner and the convicted to Execution”, ” Les Misérables”.

As Filmmaker and actress Short Films as a one-minute short film “Woman and Man”

,”Frame”, “Guys Talk”, and lastly “Cigarette”.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I love movies and acting since my childhood, I get distracted by

the movement of people, their bodies, their rhythm, their looks, their strangeness, and their passion, Suddenly, I got an idea, and started calling my “kawaliss” band, The band and I have been together for twelve years I taught them acting since they were young and they gave me life and there was a reason why I wake up in the morning and why do I even love art, after touring In Paris as an actress I become a Struggled mother of twin boys with an autism diagnosis, suffering from postpartum depression seeing movies was my last breath

I met a photographer who became my mentor eventually he saw this in me before I did, he forced me to held his camera it was heavy and confusing and nothing that I know and I just found myself again after The question was if I can overcome my dilemma between my true love of my boys and my soul that was lost battling every day’s responsibilities, In the darkest moments when I thought of giving up, I did my first short movie in a smartphone about my struggle as a woman I challenged myself to put an end of all of this in just one minuet short film and somehow this gave me peace and my adventure of filmmaking just began, “kawaliss “Is my grandfather house old library I took this abounded place and mad it a house of theater and cinema, in our home “kwaliss” we talk about pain and mad movies about it we become one family, I took a big loan from the bank with the support of the group I produced “Cigarette” as a professional big budget movie

We turned the house into a place where the normal rooms were filmed and turned into a store for masks, clothes and decorations

From here, from the occupied land of Palestine, there is a group called “Kawaliss”

The harsh conditions of the Palestinian people including those who remained on their land in addition to being deprived their basic rights and most importantly of the right of expression and keeping their national identity, have motivated us to express ourselves through art in general and filmmaking in particular, out of our belief that it is a powerful means which can be used to influence people and change their reality.

We learn from history that nations who had a great culture had taken a great interest in theatre and cinema and developed it so that it became an integral part of that culture. Considering this fact, why should we accept our weakness and disability?

Why shouldn’t we try and make a difference by using the magic powers of cinema?

My reaction was the initiative to establish “kawaliss”, which I believe will be addressing the Palestinian people and appealing to their suffering and anger but also to their joy and love of life.

My movie “Cigarette” was inspired from a conversation with a journalist that was telling his beautiful experience and great achievement when he was assigned to cover news before anyone else, he was the first to arrive to the scene (man killed his brother). Hearing the journalist describing how happy he was to cover the incident and to be the first to see the knife and smell the blood at the same time in my life that I am learning film making, so I wrote my film about what happened, and I became me myself inside the documentary film of this “photographer”

What I gathered from characters were all based on real and documented stories of struggles from the actors themselves.

The actors searched inside of them for their true feelings and personal stories. In one house I gathered these characters as the writer and director, to look for the personal relations people have between them, and their selves differentiated by their struggles, problems, and points of view; All to be captured by the lens of one of the character’s own cameras.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

in centuries two last the for tool ancient and powerful a is Cinema on focusing and world the to reality of image the conveyingissues. people’s

Today’s the presenting by and transmission real this Through,solution alternative the for proposal a presents cinema the issues,

of establishment the for calls also it humanity, of meaning the is Itharmony peace, in lives that society, human and civilized a

beauty. and

and imagination develop to advances youth creative cinema, Inneed. and want we change the ideas, progressive and new

and weak the of voices the make to tool a be should Cinema and reality terbit the monitoring for tool a heard, be to oppressed difficult especially people, with happening is what documentingtaboos. breaks or about talk to dares one no that cases

Through the cinema, the director sheds light on daily problems, and through the aesthetics of filming across locations and the harmony of colors, and the depth of acting we can change the thinking of an entire society.

-What would you change in the world?

Death, and what is worse than death? Death while you are alive, death of hope, death of any attempt to change.

Carelessness and human loss of identity and role in life, uninterested in being affected and affecting, and the question that inspired my film:

r fated to do so?”.“The human, is he given the choice? O

Nonetheless of the fear, corruption, and exploits, is life worth living for those who feel like misfits? Those who no longer feel the urge to wake up, is the system’s weed getting us high? Controlling us? e?gamare we in charge of the big

When watching the film “cigarette”, I intended for the viewer to experience the movie from a perspective other than that of the killer or the victim; good and evil; black and white.

There is a different viewpoint which is you the viewers. Ever since eternity, the worst kind of violence and murder, bloody wars between brothers and enemies, the jealousy of Cain towards Abel, the absurdity of the black and white fight made Eteocles killhis younger brother Polynices in the tragedy of “Antigone”, and Romulus who killed his twin brother Remus to build modern Rome. We are still here on this earth ever since birth, going through chapters, entering doors while the earth spins and the roles Between all the events , ange, and the place remains the samechoccurring to us, opinions oppose whether the collision between poor living circumstances and the political circumstances is a product of the new machinery age, in an attempt to lay a new

ion for the new modern human.explanat I see murder as killing all of humanity, you do not have to be my brother, from my mother or father, for me to see you for who you really are and accept your differences, see your suffering and ion between humans is what struggle. The lack of communicatcauses misunderstanding and gets us to even hate each other, without really seeing what the other is going through.

are we as the viewers and the people watching are numb (high) with no ability whatsoever of confrontation? daily what happens when someone tries to kill another; we seeshould I get involved? Shakespeare once said “All the world’s a stage…” and I add that life is just merely a film that we live its shots to the fateful end.

n our minds that movies I would change in this world the question iof course will take this role of great thinking and simply

“Humans, do have “the choice” to care.

And they are fated to help each other, this our pure nature”.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

From a long time, films focus on the directors’ inspiration for each other, One of aspects of watching a film is tracing certain directorial roots, Certain shots, scenes, or bits of dialogue, which renews the cycle for the next generation.

I believe of the influence a masterful director can be.

In the theatre we are still influenced by the works of Shakespeare and the impact of the Spanish “Garcia Lorca”, The importance of the Japanese Noh Theatre, we will always return to the most ancient civilization of “Greek and Roman Theater” and mythologies as a great source of art and philosophy.

Many contemporary writers came after them as “Oscar Wilde”, “Arthur Miller”, “Samuel Barclay Beckett”… etc.

In cinema, it is the same When “David Lynch” was affected by the , and in turn,Andrei Tarkovsky”work of the great director “

himself was affected by the great director Tarkovsky” “

Mohammed Even the Arab Egyptian director ” “Ingmar Bergman”,’s work, nor do we see the influence of khan ” We cannot seekhanThe Depth of “Michelangelo Antonioni” or the Italian directorYasujirō Ozu” frame.of ” Simplicity

Most Yong directors and the entire film industry completely “Stanley Kubrick”,” changed after “Orson Welles”, “Sidney Lumet”,Akira Kurosawa”, “John Ford”…etc. Alfred Hitchcock”,”

And in the next generation, came,” Martin Scorsese”, Francis Ford Coppola”, And today we have “Paul Thomas Anderson”,

“Alfonso Cuarón”, “Bong Joon Ho”.

And in the next 100 years some filmmakers will always appear to consider a singular eccentric Out of the ordinary with an

point of view from all over the aldirectoriexceptional and deep world with different cultures who see the art of cinema in their story’s that unite the whole word with the language of visual art on the big screen.

I see cinema after a hundred years affected by current directors with different visions as they themselves were influenced by the great directors before them.

Although there is a great aura of commercial films, but in parallel, there are movies and a group of filmmakers of alternative cinema, That still preserves the old fine cinematic artform, They are a group that cannot be underestimated, One day, after a hundred years, they will be the true pioneers of the industry, I still believe in old movies as a true reference to what the future will be in the film industry, This category of filmmakers will lead the industry to a better place, Filmmaking will be an essential subject in schools and the official educational curriculum, Today, we can make high quality movies by smartphone What will it be like after a hundred years! The camera will be as accessible to everyone as food and water, there will be movie theaters in every country, Countries will adopt a national industry in which the participants will be given creative freedom.