A young Muslim from inner London searches for redemption from his troubled past after being challenged by his prior commitments.
Hi Perry thanks for talking to TNC, how is everything going?
No problem, everything is fine on this end
Any nerves ahead of the screening?
No nerves really, more excited to see the other films which will be on display and get to meet the filmmakers.
InShort Film Festival aims to promote global discussion, how important is it for you as a filmmaker to be part of this type of film festival?
Firstly, I’m a big advocate for open discussion on global issues that regular people face every day. I feel that often the difficult discussions mean they’re the ones worth having. Inshort Film Festival stands out for me because there’s a heavy emphasis on diversity and working with an international team which is just what we had in cast and crew for War Has No Eyes.
Tell me a little bit about War Has No Eyes, how did the film come about?
War Has No Eyes came about just from being curious with the society around me. I had the idea for a film about a misunderstood young Muslim who ticks all of the boxes for what most people assume a radical young Muslim would be, but just not being that. I built the narrative after going to an acting class with Kadeem Boyce who plays Mahmoud in the film. He told me he was fasting as it was Ramadan and I didn't know he was Muslim at the time. So I had a kind of light bulb moment where I connected the dots. A premise for a screenplay I wanted to make and a young male Muslim actor who wants to get expressive. After that, I worked on the script for a while, sent it out for review from a couple of trusted filmmaker friends and when I had really positive feedback I sent the script to Kadeem who was eager to get it made. From there it was the laborious part of building the team, getting the right people in place and conveying the ideas behind the film.
What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?
Again, curiosity took hold of me. When something fascinates me, good or bad, I tend to look into it beyond the surface level. Stories of radical Islamism, the presumptions of the socioeconomic backgrounds of the young men who were being radicalised and the devastating stories of displaced refugees forced to start new lives were plastered across the media and internet, impossible to escape. As a believer that real life is rarely black and white, good or bad, it made me question the truth and do my own research. I wanted to know who else is affected by this political, social, economic and religious predicament that Britain (by underestimating the complexities of these areas) have found themselves in; and I found that it was all of us in some way shape or form. Hence the title of the film.
What was the most challenging part of making this film?
The most challenging part of the film was probably getting it all right in post-production. Deciding on the length of certain shots, removing shots then replacing them 10 times, then deciding where and where not to include music and how loud; War Has No Eyes' composers Two Twenty Two can vouch for that. In comparison, even though you exert a lot of physical energy, the shooting is much less time consuming and once you’ve filmed what you need to, you can’t turn back so easily and rectify things. That’s actually a liberating feeling. However, post-production with an independent film, often you have as much time as you need to get things right, to experiment, to try cutting a scene a different way. Ben, the editor for the film, and I would be equally conflicted sometimes on small things that we knew would make a difference to how the story was being told and ultimately what it was trying to say.
How much has your style and the approach to your filmmaking changed since your debut?
This was my debut short film and since then I’ve written a few more short films in hopes of getting the ball rolling on a new one this year. At this point my only changes would be saving enough shooting time to allow for retakes of the most important scenes but also doing better research into which film festivals to apply for. I hope a producer could help me with promotional aspects of my next film.
"People have given me their unique perspectives and musings after watching War Has No Eyes and so many of them are different."
How would you describe War Has No Eyes in three words?
Immersive, reflective, poetic
Do you have any advice or tips for any fellow filmmaker?
Keep money aside for lots of potential slip-ups and unforeseen mishaps.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
I want this film to act as a mirror. In the sense that it makes the viewer question their own behaviour, biases, and ethics without forcing a slogan or a message on them like we’re being accustomed to with pantomime politics. People have given me their unique perspectives and musings after watching War Has No Eyes and so many of them are different. To me, that’s a good indicator that it’s doing its job, it’s making people question the bigger picture and think about how they have or will interact with others. I don’t want to push any agenda on anyone, but I do think its imperative that a storyteller authentically reflects the times in which they’re in. That’s all I wanted to do, give regular people a voice. In this case, War Has No Eyes just happens to be based around a polarising and radioactive topic that I hope can inspire self-reflection.