The great thing about movie festivals is that not only are audiences more civilized, they are also highly appreciative of whatever it is they see. They applause at the beginning after the formal introductions are given, at the end after the movie finishes and sometimes even after the credits have rolled, if they still happen to be sitting till then. One such movie that had the same three set applause given to it was ‘In This World’.
The reason for that might have had something to do with the fact that one of the principle actors from the movie, Enayat, who played Enayatullah in the movie, was present during the screening and audiences had a chance to interact with him via short Q&A session. A member of the Dubai Film Festival and a translator for Inayat refereed the session. Given the extreme language barriers between Enayat, who spoke in his native pushto, and the audience, whose questions were in English, the discussions were brief and to the point. That might have had something to do with Enayat’s simplicity in responding, perhaps not the best choice himself for a sessions such as this, but all of it was insightful nonetheless, given the impact of the screening before this.
What follows went something like this:
Audience member: How were actors chosen for their performances?
Enayat: Well, for most locations, the actors were picked up as they went along. The director, Michael Winterbottom and his casting crew would just come to know, or be informed about actors, mostly non-professionals, who were interested in being part of this, and they would be cast. No extensive searching was done for the parts.
Audience member: What about you? How were you picked up for this role?
Enayat: I was actually working one day when I was introduced to Wendy Brazington, who was in charge of casting. She asked me if I was interested and I said yes.
Audience member: Are you actually from the same camp that is shown in the movie?
Enayat: No, I’m from a different, but nearby location, although almost all of the others shown during the beginning are from that same camp.
Audience member: Was the actual journey while filming done by air?
Enayat: No, all of the travel was done as it is shown in the film, by land.
Audience member: How long did it take to finish filming?
Enayat: The shooting period was approximately 2 months.
Faizan Rashid from TEN Movies: For the brief period that you made it outside the camp, in other cities and countries, did you feel it was worth it? Would you want to live in one of the places you visited?
Enayat: The journey was tough, and in the end we realized it made not much difference. I would never want to leave my country because I love it so much (audience laughs in appreciation).
Audience member: Would you travel again, given what happens to you in the movie?
Enayat: No, we should try to find our livelihood in our country, that is the best thing to do for everyone.
Adnan Khan from TEN Movies: Were the people hostile to the Western film crew given post 9/11 sentiments and the then ongoing war on Afghanistan?
Enayat: No, the people we met were very warm to all of the crewmembers.
Audience member: Why was the UK the ultimate destination for the two young travelers? Why not go to some place where they had already reached such as Turkey, France or even our very own Dubai?
Enayat: What makes the UK attractive for these children is the fact that it is financially rewarding, as compared to our villages and the language, unlike the other places you mentioned, is relatively easy to learn.
All in all, a pretty interesting little post-movie discussion that is a first for this region as well. The audience was genuinely interested in the responses and appreciated the efforts of the young performer to answer their queries.
- by Faizan Rashid