Kabul Press is the official media partner of the independent movie, THE PERSIAN DINNER 2015. THE PERSIAN DINNER will be released in September in Italy. It is the debut feature film by the Hazara film director Amin Wahidi. Before this film, Amin Wahidi has made five short films including L’OSPITE/THE GUEST that won VENICE CITY AWARD 2014 last year during Venice International Film Festival.
Kabul Press did this interview with Amin Wahidi on his new film in Italy THE PERSIAN DINNER 2015.
Kabul Press: With your new film THE PERSIAN DINNER, what message do you want to transform to the viewers?
Amin Wahidi: Well, first of all, thanks a lot for this interview. In Dari we have a good proverb that says, “A perfume scents by itself and doesn’t need perfumer’s explanation”, so the same case is with a piece of art or literary work. Based on this saying, I believe if there is a message, my film itself should transform, so I don’t want to say about it now. I also consider myself a story teller, so, I don’t make a lot of efforts on how strongly transform messages through my films, but I do my best to tell a story and let the viewers have the space of thinking about it, even after they leave the movie theatre.
So, saying this, I would only recommend the Kabul Press readers to watch THE PERSIAN DINNER when it will be released in the movie theatres.
Kabul Press: So you mean, you are not a film director who uses symbols and metaphors in his works?
Amin Wahidi: Not really, or at least, not in my last two works. In a couple of my first short films, I was very precise and did all the shootings frame by frame by the help of storyboard, it was from 2003- 2007 but then I discovered a new style of making films, where one can leave a lot of space and freedom for improvisation and for what really happens on real time on the set. Thus now I have totally changed my point of view about cinema and way of making films. Also because, the language of films nowadays are much more different than a few years back, therefore the style of how to make films influences the language of a film.
And since I discovered myself, not to be a filmmaker of millimeteric frame by frame accuracy, I find myself easier when there is improvisation that relies on what is going on at that moment on the set, because as a person I am a bit disordered when doing my things and most of the time when filming I enjoy letting things in disorder or letting things go the way they go. Partly, may be, doing independent films has forced me becoming this way. Because when you do independent films, you are supposed to be very creative, active, a quick decision maker, which sometimes can have negative effects as well on the final result of your product. Mostly I use the real locations as the sets of my short films, this way; the result is very realistic as well as economic.
Kabul Press: Could you tell us, what exactly is The Persian Dinner about?
Amin Wahidi: Well, The Persian Dinner is a film about social classes, integration, racism, friendship, Expo, corruption, love, hate, betrayal and more than all, it is about the clashes between the old and the new generation of Italian society, nowadays.
Kabul Press: Could you explain it better, the influences of independent films on director’s creativity?
Amin Wahidi: Well, the short films I made so far are all low-budget ones, which are mostly auto-financed or are made by the help of my friends. In this case, you have to be very fast, clever, full of contacts and creative. For instance, first, if you don’t have enough equipments, you just borrow them from your friends and add their names in the credit titles of the film, then you do your best, not to pay for locations to reduce the costs, and if you do find actors who take part in the film without being paid, then it is fantastic. In the case of THE PERSIAN DINNER, most of the actors are professionals but none are paid, because they liked the project and took part in it on honorary basis for which I am grateful.
Then remain only transportation expenses, and the meal which is usually sandwiches on the set, and a place to stay.
For costumes as well, we did our best to utilize the actor’s own costumes, this way, you save a lot on costs. And if you find people who work with you on honorary basis for post production as well, then, your film is a really very low budget.
Kabul Press: What is in THE PERSIAN DINNER that makes it unique?
Amin Wahidi: Well, good question! First, it is the story of THE PERSIAN DINNER that makes it unique, because it is very simple story at the same time, it has its complexity. Then the cast is extraordinary and the crew is exceptional. So, there was a lot of positive energy behind this project and obviously the final outcome is wonderful. The way, we’ve shot it, with a documentary style of camera on shoulder, we take the viewers into the core of the story and as closest as possible with the characters of the film so that they feel themselves within what is happening there; in other words, with the style of shooting, we let the viewers participate very intimately in what is going on in the story, whether there are tensions or relaxation and happiness. I could consider it a kind of neo-realism work as well in which everything is taking place in real places and real time, only the difference that we have professional actors. The overall rhythm of the film is very dynamic. I think it’ll be a heart-throbbing film. It is a social drama.
The story takes place, just in less than twenty four hours and the story line is simple; triangle of a family relationship; a father, a son and a grandmother as a main thread of storyline. While there are a couple of other triangles of relationships that help the story go on. The location is a social center in Milan.
Kabul Press: What is the duration of THE PERSIAN DINNER and how long did it take you to shoot it?
Amin Wahidi: It is a feature length film, actually my first feature film and the running time is 105 minutes. Being an independent low-budget film, the project faced with a lot of problems and it took us about eight months to complete the shootings. We did not shoot continuously though; we had to have breaks in the middle because of production problems. But we all were strong to confront the problems. We continued on and went ahead until the end and finally soon we’ll be ready to be screened.
Kabul Press: What about theatrical release of your film?
Amin Wahidi: For the moment, our first intention is sending THE PERSIAN DINNER, to different International Film Festivals, but we do not have a theatrical or Home Video distributor yet. Lately we have been contacted by a couple of Independent movie theatres in Milan, who were interested to screen our film, and we are looking forward to see what we can do. However, the premiere of the film will be in September. So, the festivals can also help us find interested theatrical or Home Video distributors.
Kabul Press: What other projects do you have after THE PERSIAN DINNER?
Amin Wahidi: Well, even if THE PERSIAN DINNER is still in post-production these days, I have a couple of other parallel projects as well. My next work after THE PERSIAN DINNER is a feature documentary tilted MANU ON THE ROAD. This film is about a brilliant female singer/songwriter MANUELA PELLEGATTA in Milan who is struggling for the release of her first studio album. I am following her artistic carrier during the year 2015. She is a unique talent and has a magical voice and has to be introduced to the entire world. The production of this feature documentary will be finished by the end of this year.
Then there is another feature docu-fiction titled TWELVE BICYCLES that will be shot between Italy and Sweden in 2017. It is too early now to talk about it.
Beside films, my other important projects are literary works such as novels novellas and short story collections. I have a novel, a novella and a couple of short story collections under work and hopefully by the end of 2016 I will be able to publish them if I find the interested publishers.
Kabul Press: Anything you would like to say to the viewers of your film/films?
Amin Wahidi: Well, I would just like to invite them to watch our film when we will be released in the movie theatres of Milan or elsewhere. It is very important to support independent filmmakers who in spite of many difficulties make films for their heart, for the people and not only for income.
And it is them, who will judge the film after they watched it.
Kabul Press: Which are the production houses that produced THE PERSIAN DINNER?
Amin Wahidi: Deedenow Cinema Production Afghanistan, Hazara People International Network, Remspot and Ri-Make. It is a co-production between Afghanistan and Italy.
Kabul Press: As the last question, why do you think your previous film, L’OSPITE/THE GUEST won the Venice City Award in 2014?
Amin Wahidi: Well, may be because, it was a film that could relate a strong story in a short time. It is a social drama that depicts the refugee problems in Italy. This short film is dedicated to the asylum seekers and the victim of mistreatments with refugees and the people who are drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while coming to Italy. Especially this year, as everyone knows, about one thousand people are being drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, so, L’OSPITE/THE GUEST is just a small tribute to all those victims. Therefore it caught the attention of the jury to assign this award to this short film.
Kabul Press: Thank you very much for your time.
Amin Wahidi: Thanks for your interview.