by Sherif Awad
-I grew up in Italy in a small town between Padua and Venice in a big, noisy and happy family. I became interested in theatre pretty soon: the first time I attended a show I was in primary school and I still remember my excitement. It was like a discovery: theatre was a magic world I fell in love with it from that moment. As a child I was not going often to the theatre (we were four children and I was the only one interested in it) but every time I could go I was the happiest child in the world. You can ask my mother.
-I don’t know if I really had models in theatre, film or dance as a child or teen. My interest for those art forms was really connected with the imagination and the inspiration I had from them but I was not focused on admiring a particular person or at least I don’t remember me thinking “ I would like to be like her/him”. It was more of a general involvement for art, especially for theatre at the beginning: it was a dimension I wanted to explore in all its complexity. As a teen theatre was probably a place where I could discover more of myself.
- I took lessons as an actress in different schools and workshops for theatre and dance (and later for film acting) but I don’t have a classical education, I didn’t attend an academy: I learned by doing (especially for the film direction). Nonetheless I think it is really important to have an education in a good school: it can help a lot to have an easy (or easier) access to the business world, especially here in Germany. As a self-taught person I really had to make an effort to be considered and respected for my work.
-I work both on theatre/dance and film but now I’m more concentrated on film projects. I’m really happy that my films are being screened in many countries in the world: I didn't have this expectation at the beginning but I still think I have much to do to improve my future work and go for further steps. I would like to involve more institutions and film supporters in my next works: this could allow my films to be more accessible worldwide/have a larger audience and at the same time to give my next works higher chances to get properly financed.
-Are there challenges related to gender as a female versus profession that you face now? Women artists have still to fight to obtain the same achievements with the same strength of a man. Yes, there is still a big difference based on gender but I also think many institutions/ film associations are reflecting on that and women’s work starts to be highlighted and receiving a much generous interest/support in different ways: I’m positive in what will happen in the future. Regarding me facing challenges as a woman artist I don't have much to share now: I guess this is because I’m working mostly as an independent filmmaker. I think things are different for women who are working less independently.
-Probably my perspective is still very particular and linked to the independent scene to talk generally about this topic even if I lived in Germany for many years. From my point of view, there are many resources for film and TV but I have the feeling there is less cooperation with other countries: the kind of films that are produced now are mostly very national.
-When I was working as an actress I was considering the work proposals based on my instinct, following the feelings I had from the project and the real desire to play the role. As an actress you need to have a push, the feeling you want really to play a particular role otherwise it doesn’t make sense to accept.
To be honest, in the past I also accepted works I was not convinced 100%: I was hungry of new experiences and collaborations. I have to say that, for better or for worse, I learned a lot from every project I was part of. As a filmmaker for now I have been busy only with my projects but I am always curious about new collaborations.
- Equilibrium is a difficult word for me especially if we talk about a balance between my work and my private life. For many years I have mostly mixed them but since a couple of years I am trying to make a clear division between the two improving the time quality for both of them: I can’t swear that it always works but I do my best to keep them separated.
-What are your current and future project? This summer I worked on three different projects: the video art “Vieni” that is screening in competition on several festivals in Europe and South America, a music video shot in New York with the Italian musician Lorenzo Boa and the black&white short film “Mamma dorme” that will be presented in 2020. I’m working now on the promotion/distribution of these three projects and developing two major projects. I hope I can talk more about them soon! In the meantime you can see updates about my work here: