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Mohamed Makhlouf is a Libyan-born British journalist and documentary filmmaker with more than 30 years of experience. He’s worked as a director and cinematographer as well as an independent journalist for a number of Arabic publications in London.
The Benghazi resident also founded the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival, which was first held in London in April in 1999 and featured a number of short films and documentaries. The third round was held last year in Benghazi.
Magharebia sat down with the world-renowned filmmaker in Benghazi to ask him about the state of movie making in Libya amid the country’s current insecurity.
Magharebia: What’s the status of film in Libya?
Mohamed Makhlouf: There is no cinema in Libya now there is only a video film movement using a cinematic language. There are some limited experiences for Libyans in Europe and America.
The dictator’s fear of visual culture played a major role in undermining the cinema, and even in putting an end to it in Libya.
Magharebia: What are your latest projects?
Makhlouf: … For the time being, I’m producing and directing a number of films using our own means in co-operation with a group of young people from Benghazi. I’m also taking part in several international short films festivals, the last of which was my participation in the jury of Sous International Short Films Festival in Morocco. I’m also preparing for the fourth round of the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival in Benghazi
Magharebia: How do you see the security situation in Libya? Does it affect your work?
Makhlouf: The Libya I know has changed. However, I still feel the spirit and good principles in those good, simple people who reflect the true Libyan character.
Magharebia: What is your future vision for the cinema in Libya?
Makhlouf: In spite of the bad security situation and its dangers, it constitutes no obstacle for the film industry. On the contrary, this atmosphere helps produce more films to document the details of aentures and make them more realistic.
Magharebia: What’s your impression about Libyan youth and their desire to enter the filmmaking field?
Makhlouf: Through my experience, which lasted for more than one and half years after I left Britain where I lived for more than 35 years in exile, I found out that Libya is full of cinematic skills and talents that are comparable to those in Europe. Those young people need urgent care and continuous support from our ministries and institutions to establish a national cinema movement.
Magharebia: What’s your evaluation of the performance of government and General National Congress (GNC)?
Makhlouf: The political chaos in Libya is due to the parties and sick figures that want to loot this country and make gains at the expense of its wealth.
Libya won’t stabilise until those people, illegal militias, all brokers and former regime’s loyalists who are wreaking havoc in this country have been eliminated. We may have a pressing need for a second revolution, but we have to be patient and to have hope and faith in the future.
Magharebia: So what’s the solution?
Makhlouf: Political stability will be the most important factor in building the new Libya and its future. This country is rich in wealth and capabilities, and if its people feel secure and safe, we will see the other shining face of Libya. Patriots have the biggest share of burden in building this country. We have to be patient and work hard to bring Libya back to its place among civilised peoples.
I’m fully confident in future generations. My weapon is hope… hope in God and the future.
Source : Magharebia