By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Khairy Beshara

Marking a return to feature filmmaking after 16 years, Khairy Beshara talks to Screen about experimental docu-drama Moondog.

Egyptian filmmaker Khairy Beshara has returned to feature filmmaking following a 16-year hiatus with experimental docu-drama Moondog, which is screening in DIFF’s Muhr Arab feature competition tonight.

Why did you have a 16-year break from directing features?

In 1996 I had the highest salary in the Egyptian film industry and made two films in one year. I won the Silver Pyramid at the Cairo film festival for one of those films, Traffic Light. But I decided after I took the prize that I couldn’t continue any more in the film industry and wanted to find myself; I needed a change.

Then after a few years, the digital revolution happened and I became one of the evangelists, along with my friend [fellow Egyptian film-maker] Mohamed Khan. Everyone thought we were mad. Arturo Ripstein said that when a director gets older, he should turn to digital or die. That made me think I don’t want to die - I want to survive in another way.

So I decided to make a film about my disappearance and started shooting Moondog in 2000, beginning with a real event,my daughter’s wedding in Washington DC.

Does Moondog lean towards documentary or fiction?

The film mixes fiction and reality. The Moondog is me - when I disappear, my son discovers I’ve metamorphosed into a dog. It’s very free; I approach film as a long dream or maybe a nightmare. The biggest influence on me has been an essay written by Alexandre Astruc in 1948 about ‘camera stylo’, which talks about using a film camera like a pen. All my life as a director I’ve tried to achieve this, as it allows you to be free.

How did you know when to stop shooting?

It was difficult because I kept telling myself to stop shooting, but at the last minute I’d pick up a camera and start again. But now Moondog is finished - I knew it was finished when I filmed the scenes with the dog, because the dog expresses me and my views of how I see life.

How did you fund the film?

I didn’t want to accept funding because I wanted to be free; I don’t care about money and distribution. So I continued to professionally make TV serials so I could self-finance the film.

You may not be concerned about distribution, but you must want people to see the film?

I adore the audience but I’m tired of fighting to reach people and I don’t want to beg somebody to distribute my film. After the screening, if somebody asks to take the film then, of course, with pleasure. But it’s not my concern and I won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. I’m just proud of myself that I’ve finished the film and it will screen at the Dubai film festival on the big screen.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related images

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

newsletter+promo