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Palm Springs International ShortFest 2019: 13 Moviemakers On The Joys and Perils of Making Short Films 

Palm Springs International ShortFest 2019: 13 Moviemakers On The Joys and Perils of Making Short Films 

Festivals

“Youth”

As filmmakers, I think a lot of us feel this pressure to say something important, to make an impact, to change people’s lives with our art. The pressure seems to increase when you come from a community that doesn’t see itself represented on screen very often. It can be paralyzing sometimes and it can make your art suffer. No one idea ever feels all-encompassing or important enough. No one story (or 10 minute film) manages to cover every issue that matters. 

It took me a long time to get over that idea. With “Youth,” I realized the more I edited down, the more noise I got rid of, the clearer my story became. I tried to comment on too many things at once: gendered expectations, peer pressure, mother-daughter relationships, culture, class, etc. It wasn’t until I cut four of the scenes we shot and narrowed down the story to one pivotal moment that I was really able to create the impact I wanted. From there, it was easy to shape the rest of the film.

Decluttering allowed me to really explore my characters and theme with a lot more depth. I still get paranoid about my film not being “enough,” but I think it’s something we have to free ourselves from if we’re going to grow as filmmakers. There’s always the next film! —Farida Zahran, director

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