Written by Vincent Magnenat
The Horyou Team met M. Mohamed Malas, the Syrian film director known for Passion (2005) and Ladder to Damascus (2013). Malas was in Geneva to preside over the jury for the feature film section of the FIFOG, the Geneva’s International Oriental Film Festival.
1) How to you feel to be present at FIFOG?
It’s a great pleasure to be here representing Arabic cinema. It is important that this type of space/event exists because Arab films do not get a lot of exposure. Any opportunity to represent it is more than welcome. I’m involved in these types of Festival because they are opportunities to take Arabic Cinema to places it doesn’t have the chance to be shown. For this I am happy that my movie “Amir” participated in this beautiful festival last year and received one of the awards.
2) What message do you want to convey through your films to your audience?
I am focused on making Syrian films, I consider myself a storyteller rather than a professional producer. I create films when I have something to voice about my country. For forty years, I have taken my camera to tell the story of the authentic Syria and also the vision of the power struggles within the country and the people. What I’m most interested in is the humanity behind it all so the real Syrian citizen because no one portrays us under that light. Critics say that I am the producer in search of what is lost. I am always in search of what is missing and I try to find a way to gently remind the audience what they lack.
3) Apart from cinema, how do you take action towards the causes you care most about?
Naturally, I have literature. I wrote and signed books in which I try to explain and bring understanding to the sensations that my photographs evoke.