by Sherif Awad
Although many Arab performers dream of reallocating in Egypt, Heind Sabry and Dorra are few of the Tunisian actresses who became superstars in the Egyptian film and TV to the extent that they both stopped working elsewhere. On the opposite side, actresses like Sandy, Latifa or Feryal Youssef Among the new generation of Tunisian stars is Fatma Nasser who was receiving positive reviews for her supporting roles on the big and small screen until finally this year, she is top billed on the poster of the romantic drama Rouge that will come soon to cinemas.
Before studying business administration then working in the Spanish banking field, Fatma Nasser grew up like many of her generation watching Egyptian black & white classic films on the National Tunisian television. Her introduction to the Egyptian entertainment scene came accidentally while on vacation in Cairo when she was cast in an early short film directed by Amr Salama entitled The Advertisement (2006). This caught the attention of Ihab Lamee, another Egyptian director, who cast her in On Air, a light comedy feature that miraculously found its way to the competition of Cairo Film Festival 2007, a year that lacked more serious production. Many supporting roles in films and TV series followed, notably in Tell Us, Scheherazade Tell (2009) and Bitter Sugar (2015). Nasser returned to her homeland to appear in films and television works as well. She starred in the short Tunisian film Clean Soap directed by Maleyka Emar (2010) and the feature Free (2015) by Moaz Kamoun. The latter was screened last year in Alexandria Mediterranean Film Festival (AMFF). Following a costarring role opposite Hany Salama in his TV series My Destiny, Your Destiny, Nasser returned last September to AMFF to present her first starring role Rouge, a romantic drama co-starring Amir Salah. Directed by first time feature helmer John Ikram, Rouge takes place in one night when beautician Wafaa, played by Fatma Nasser, decides to commit suicide. However, deliveryman Hassan saves her only to spend together a night full of surprises.
"In ten years, I acted in Egypt more than Tunisia", commented Fatma Nasser. "The Egyptian film and TV industry are bigger and more popular across the Arab world. So far, my favorite two appearances were on TV in two TV series: After the Beginning in 2015 and Exit in 2016 although I target cinema as my priority".
Nasser was attracted to the role of Wafaa, the middleclass young woman and the main character in Rouge that represented Egypt in both the Mediterranean Feature Competition and the Arab Feature Competition during AMFF last September. "I liked her change that her character go through from a desperation to believing that fate is stronger than any human being's will"
In AMFF and on her film's premieres, Nasser always catch the attention of Egyptian media and most of paparazzi's cameras that hunt her to get many angles of her fashionable dresses. "I show up really to connect with filmmakers I don't know and of course to promote my new outings", explains Nasser who was cast in the next film by Moroccan filmmaker Hassan Benjelloun last year when he met her in Alexandria and saw her Tunisian film Free that was selected in the competition.
Next ambition for Fatma Nasser is seeking an agent in the UK or the US to follow the footstep of many Arab actors in appearing in international productions. "Practicing French and English not to mention my universal look, I am sure I can make it on the international scenes", she says in an assuring tone.
Next for Fatma Nasser, a new Tunisian film she has just finished called Rough Seas. "This new drama was shot entirely in Tunisian village", says Nasser. "It is set during the 1950s during the struggle for Independence from France. My costars are the Tunisian Havian, Atif Bin Hussein and Mohammed Sayari.