Despite his great preoccupation as the director of the Cairo International Film Festival due to the countdown to the beginning of its activities, his new series “Al-Nazwa” managed to achieve with the presentation of its first episodes, it topped the list of the most watched on the “Shahid VIP” platform in Egypt and the Arab countries. It also garnered positive reactions on social media platforms.
Amir Ramses, the director of the work, confirmed in his interview with “Al Arabiya.net” that it is the Arabic version of the famous foreign series The Affair, which won many awards and nominations from the “Golden Globes” and “Prime Time”, and deals with a murder in which the finger of accusation is pointed at more than A person, intertwined with stories of love, revenge and betrayal.
Director Amir Ramses
**”Al-Nazwa” is your first experience at the level of television drama… so what motivated you to take part in it?
** I was excited about the idea before anything else, as I had no problem presenting a TV show at a time when these works got rid of the burden of the old format, the 30 episodes, and the series became more logical for the dramatic plot. The biggest challenge is making the Arabic version of the famous foreign series The Affair, because I love the original, which is a difficult series and the idea of making it in the Middle East was a special challenge for me.
How did you find the reaction to it? Did you expect it to be that big?
** The reality is that the reaction is much greater than I expected, perhaps because the series’s idea is intertwined with well-established concepts in society and we are trying to treat it differently. It could have been a cause for concern for me in the way the audience interacted, but the audience’s ability to empathize with and empathize with the characters was something very impressive to me and I was very happy with it.
* A whole year has passed since the beginning of filming until the show… How was that experience? Did you feel anxious before the show?
** The experience of the whole year was enjoyable for me, because the series took us a lot of time to implement, and it was not linked to a specific season and we were not pressured to go down at a specific time. Thus, we took time to work on preparing for it, making the visual form and the actors’ associations with other works, and on music with Tamer Karawan. We thought we had enough time to work on the show the way we liked it, and that was the most satisfying thing for me. Of course, I was worried about the reactions before the show, but the reactions after the first night of the show reassured me, and the result and the great success made me very happy.
Director Amir Ramses
How do you see the idea of displaying on digital platforms and its strong spread these days?
**I see platforms as an undeniable sight in the industry in any way. I think that it is one of the most important means of presenting series, as the viewer has become inclined to it as a means of watching the works in the way that suits them at the appropriate time for them.
* Returning to the Cairo Festival, how do you see the features of that session?
** This year’s festival is promising and rich, as the jury committees in the festival include a number of important names, including Japanese director Naomi Kawaki, who is one of the most important directors in Asia and the world. And we confirmed the screening of the opening film, which is a film for the first time that the Middle East audience will see two months before its release, because it is scheduled to be released in 2023, which is very important for the festival. He also announced a number of films that won awards at Cannes and other festivals. I think that the course is rich in terms of films and guests, and I am happy to work with Mr. Hussein Fahmy, which is something that makes anyone happy, but he is an adventurous personality and is enthusiastic about ideas that many may not present, and there is a great cooperation between us to come out in the best way for the festival.
Cairo Film Festival
* Between El Gouna and Cairo… El Gouna’s funding was huge, unlike Cairo. Shall we say that the festival was primarily financed?
**Any festival needs funding to become a good festival, but this is not the only equation. On the ground, there are other equations, including the level of films shown inside the festival, and this equation required a different effort in communicating with film distributors. She summoned me to travel to Lebanon to retrieve some of the distributors who had severed their ties with the Cairo Festival years ago. Even before the cancellation of the El Gouna Festival and with the budget of Cairo, I was able to get the films I wanted. It is true that the budget is important, but on the other hand, it is a burden on the festival.
The idea that the festival is entirely dependent on the private sector has its advantages, but it carries a heavy burden on what the private sector is waiting for from the festival, as it waits for the form of certain services that are sometimes positive and sometimes not. There is no doubt that the presence of the Ministry of Culture in supporting the festival is still a wall of protection in its choices, as well as the final form it reaches.
For example, when the artist Hussein Fahmy, head of the festival, announced that the opening ceremony would be purely cinematic, in addition to some forms of light “entertainment” that would not affect the presence of cinema in the main, and certainly if the festival depended on sponsors, he would not have been able to achieve this equation because they are looking for the light part. Designed for entertainment. But in the end, we are a film festival that celebrates the industry, and there is a ministry that protects us and demands that we present a film festival before anything else, and there are sponsors who understand this mechanism of work, and that they offer to support a cinematic event, for all this, I think that huge funding, despite its advantages, may be hindering.
* What is your wish for this course, especially since it is your first?
** My wish is to present an unforgettable session in the history of the festival, and for everyone to remember it as we all remember the 2014 session presented by the late critic Samir Farid, which was indeed one of the most beautiful sessions of the festival. This is my dream and for sure when you take charge of the festival after a successful period there is a huge challenge. On a personal level, I have a special challenge, and some are waiting for me to attract films at the same level that was in El Gouna, especially since some were saying that money is what decides important films and not our ability to get them.