Zeina Makki is an actress who has starred in over 10 shorts and has also had a lead role in a Lebanese feature. Her movie, Once Upon a Scent is being screened at the festival and has been categorized in the “Intersections” section.
It is a story of a fantasy village without colours and fragrances and has lost the pleasures of life, as they do not have the sense of smell. When Lola arrives with her scented skin, she is exiled by the villagers and is forced to grow up alone. Her special connection with nature allows her to create magical perfumes that have special effects on people such as, happiness or success. However she has only one rule that she is not supposed to break and when she does, fate decides to test her.
What was your inspiration for this movie?
Growing up, I’ve mainly watched fairy tales and I was three when Tim Burton’s, A Nightmare Before Christmas released. I grew up watching his movies as I love fairy tales and believe that the sense of smell is underestimated so, I wanted to highlight that through my movie.
You were an actress before. How was the experience of the transition from in front of the camera, to behind?
I studied directing, film-making and script writing. Along with that, I also took a lot of acting courses and thus got into acting. I think acting and directing complete each other. It’s good to be an actress who knows directing techniques and it is also good to be a director who knows how to deal with actors. So for me, it’s amazing to know both.
Is this your first time at the Gulf Film Festival? How has your experience been?
It’s my first time at this festival but I’ve attended the Dubai International Film Festival as an actress as I had acted in one of the short movies screened there. My experience at the Gulf Film Festival has been wonderful. It’s incredible to watch the movies screened here and to meet different directors and share our thoughts, ideas, and movies.
What challenges do you think directors face in making short movies when compared to feature films?
Many people assume that it’s easier to make a short movie but it’s not. It’s difficult to deliver the idea you have within a time period of 15-17 minutes and, many directors face budget problems. My movie was a fairy tale and that is why I had to spend a lot because I wanted the audience to feel like they’re in a different world and experience something new.
How does the Gulf Film Festival serve as a good platform for filmmakers?
The festival is great exposure for filmmakers to screen their movies and to meet with other directors. Also, the workshops held here are very helpful.
By Kavita Mehrotra