It is just under one year since the first edition of the Norwich Radical Film Festival in 2016, but as plans get under way for our sequel, we have been feeling rather nostalgic for our inaugural event. In the first of a series, writer Danae Papadaki interviews NRFF alumni, and director last year’s winning short documentary, Mazin Sherabayani about what happened next for his film Dyab.
Accepted as part of the NRFF 2016 programme, Dyab is a powerful short documentary which follows a young Kurd who wants to become a filmmaker, as he creates a live ‘film’ amidst a refugee camp. His dreams get fused with the cruel reality of war and yet his will to tell stories survives, with his limitless imagination finding ways to portray the according vibes and colours of his people’s grim situation.
Since winning the prize for best short doc, director Mazin Sherabayani has been on a whirlwind tour promoting the film across the world – and according to the filmmaker, alongside new projects, there is still more to come from Dyab.
What happened to the film after winning at last year’s NRFF?
Dyab is doing very well after Norwich Radical Film Festival 2016. The film is still going around the world participating in more festivals. So far, the film has been selected for over 80 International film festivals around the world wining 18 awards worldwide from UK, Germany, Kurdistan, Egypt, Iraq, South Korea, Armenia, Colombia, USA, China, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Russia and other countries. The NRFF was a great platform to show my film and attracted a very interesting audience, talking and discussing about the film, which won Best Short Documentary. Meanwhile, Dyab is still receiving more selections and has been invited in many charity occasions to show the film to communities, raising awareness about the crisis of refugees, particularly those of children and the victims of the brutal atrocities committed by the so called ‘Islamic State’ in Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria.
How did people react to Dyab?
Most of the people I met during my course of visiting the festivals around the world expressed a great interest of the subject of the film, which authentically expressed the situation entirely from the point of view of 12-year-old Kurdish Yazidi boy Dyab Qamo, and his group of friends. Meanwhile, I have received many constructive compliments and positive credits from audiences, other filmmakers and film critics from different parts of the world about the way I treated the story impartially and fairly.
How do you see your creation now?
I feel I have done my job against all the odds; the film has been going around the world for the past 18 months, non-stop. The film was made with a very small budget and crew members and we faced many obstacles during making the film, meaning I had to do the prost-production of the film entirely by myself from cutting to color correction to the sound mixing. However, the film drew the attention of many festivals and institutions around the world and made to distribution in Italy and USA for educational and academic purposes, and been considered in Iraqi Film Guide 2016 as one of the best films in Iraq for the year 2016. Therefore, I strongly believe that no matter how difficult a task might be; but with enough patient, perseverance and a true believe in the project any filmmaker can feel proud of their creation.
What do you feel like you have earned as a creator from this artistic journey?
The recognitions I have received made, of course, quite a difference in my artistic journey and helped me to be more determined to tell the stories that I strongly believe that can make a good subject of my film.
As for the artistic journey, it has been incredibly helpful to go around the world and meet some amazing people both from the field of filmmaking and other artistic arenas. But, over all, what I gained during this journey is my belief that, if we all work together – despite our differences- we can make a positive impact on the life of other peoples, especially the children and younger people and help them to provide them with a positive legacy and environment where the next generation can add their bit to it and generate a better world for all.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
Yes, I have just completed making a new short documentary about 20 minutes which revolves around the themes of war, migrant, religion.
If you were lucky enough to attend last year’s festival to see Dyab, alongside over 160 other earth-shaking, world-changing movies from across the globe, or if you missed out and want to see the NRFF deliver an equally breath-taking second year, we need your help. Please give what you can to our IndieGoGo campaign here.