From Reel to Real

, Q&A

Deena Al Saweer is a Bahraini content creator. She directed a short film in Detroit, Michigan, and is currently working on two cross-cultural short films shot in Bahrain. Deena believes thoughts become reality, and that is what she accredits most of her success to!

What was your drive behind making films?

People always told me that the way I looked at the world was different. This used to bother me, but when I picked up a camera and filmed my perspective, I felt people were able to see what I saw.

What is your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is the fact that I started producing videos for big clients at the age of 19. Somehow, I was being recognised just by living my truth through my unique perspective and relentless creativity.

How did you come up with the idea for your films?

Everything I shoot is based on a contradictory thought. I filmed a classical dance (ballet) in downtown Ottawa in Canada last summer. I filmed an artist painting the old Manama Souq in the middle of the newly renovated Manama Souq. After all, we all wish we had someone who understood the real us, the version of yourself/life that’s in your head. For me, I take those thoughts (even if they’re inspired by other people’s thoughts) and find a way to bring them to life.

Which particular filmmaker has influenced you the most?

Humans are very dynamic, I often like to extract specific characteristics from several filmmakers and films and derive inspiration from a combination of those. I learnt to be immersive in my shots from Kenneth Branagh (Orient Express, 2019), I learnt the art of mystery from Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, 2001), and I learnt the beauty of composition from Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014).

Which book would you love to make a film out of one day?

I have always imagined making the Fifty Rules of Love but not in the same serious tone as the book was written in! I would follow the characters with immersive shots similar to Kenneth Branagh’s style, but also mix in mysterious montages in Steven Soderbergh’s style. The film would have all these life lessons shot with a bit of a quirky energy like in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

I think it’s essential to know the basics of operating a camera just to achieve the outcome you need to tell your story.

If you got the opportunity to remake a classic, which one would you go for?

Lawrence of Arabia! The story is beautiful, and there is so much beauty in our culture to be showcased.

If not a filmmaker, what would you have been?

It’s very easy for people to put a triangle into a triangle shaped hole. Artists are shapeless. Sometimes I make music, sometimes short films, sometimes I make music for my short films and sometimes I write poetry to serve as the base of the story of my short film.

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