FRANCAIS LANGUE ETRANGERE, Kartik SINGH, 12m30s, 2009. In a French for foreigners language course, a heated debate arises between two Muslim women over the right to have Muslim headwear on during class.
The film will be premiering this month at the Urbanworld Film Festival. It shows in the Shorts 2 program at the
Herald Square AMC (34th St. between 8th & 9th Ave.) on:
Thursday, September 24th at 12:15pm
Saturday, September 26th at 1:30pm
Since making this film in January 2009, the response has been wonderful.
I am so grateful that this film even got made, as it all came together by accident. After the success of Saving Mom & Dad, I had no plans to make another short film. I felt ready to move into features. This transition has been enjoyable, but longer than I had imagined. SMD shot in February 2007, so by late last year, I was dying to be back on set, working with actors, making another movie.
How do you make a film when you have no money? None. Zilch. Enough to pay for a few meals at best, definitely not enough to rent stuff and hire folks. For the past 3 years, I have been teaching film for a technical high school and college in France. One fine day, I asked what they do with the equipment when it’s not being used by the students. Long story short: we turned my project into an official school project. I selected a DP (director of Photography) and the rest of the crew is 20 year olds who had never made a movie. This brought a lot of fun and unpredictability to the set as you can imagine.
It was deeply satisfying for me to make this film. Islam in Europe is a sticky situation to say the least. I am fascinated by this question of how people should live. How should the immigrant behave in her new society? In this case, two immigrants are in total disagreement about whether to wear the veil. I believe this confusion is present for many in France. I was especially interested in dealing with this subject after the 2004 law forbidding expression of any religious signs in schools and town halls. While I think the law targets Islam, my own community, the Sikhs, are caught in the crossfire. The issue resonates with me, and I spent last fall developing the script.
I had the pleasure of working with fine actors. The two leads, Behi Djanati Atai and Maud Buquet have each done several feature films. In fact, while making our film, Behi was promoting three other features, including an amazing film For a Moment, Freedom, in which she plays the lead. It’s a wonderful film, powerful in emotion and bittersweet. (I mentioned it in my list of favorite films from last year).
I’m so glad to be back in New York with another film, and I can’t wait to see how it is received by audiences.