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Interview with director Murad Abu Eisheh


Born in Jordan in 1992. Murad earned his bachelor degree in Design and Visual Communications with a focus on filmmaking from the German Jordanian University in 2014 in Jordan, during which he did an exchange year at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt in Germany. Following his graduation, he immersed himself deeper in his filmmaking journey and directed several short films focusing on human driven stories out of the Arab world. Later on, he directed some commercials for the Jordanian Royal Hashemite Court. In 2016, Murad started studying directing at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Between 2018 and 2021, Murad wrote and directed three short films, of which most recently “Tala’vison”. Which received the support of the Jordan film fund and produced in co-production with SWR, Jordan Pioneers and Tabi 360. Then went on to win various awards and honors, most recently its gold medal win at the Student Academy Awards – Oscars, which marks the first Arab win in the fiction category. In his movies, Murad is drawn to fictionalize and portray stories out of the war torn Arab countries. In order to highlight the injustices and pose critical questions to the standing socio political structures of the “Middle East”.

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

Not in particular it was a slow progress for me over the years, as a child I was quite attached to watching films over and over again, I wasn’t aware that this would be my own way of telling stories, but over the years it was developing in me. Until the day I took my first film class and then it all clicked for me, this is my path and way.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

Not at all, many many film makers never studied film making. In my opinion the best way to learn film is to make films.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

I honestly can’t say which is harder, each person have different experience and circumstances. For me personally it was harder to start, as I come from Jordan and our film industry at the time was very small and it was unrealistic to dream to make films as a “job” that can support my livelihood. So it took me more time and energy to start and follow my dream in making films.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

For me the experience of working with a child and a none actor was extremely challenging but at the same time extremely rewarding. I had to dive deep into the mind set of our casted child Aysha Balasem, while working with her in the pre-production phase, her thoughts and interactions promoted me to adjust the script in ways that impacted the film in a positive way.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

As a director specially for short films, I fell my job is to slowly adapt over the pre-production, production and post production periods to the financial and logistical realities that are forced on me and the project. I faced different obstacles during every stage of the production, but I made sure to collect a team of creatives that I trusted, that managed with me to get the film to its completion in a cohesive way.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

The casting for me was the hardest phase and choice I had to make. I casted more than 200 young girls for the role until we found our 7 year old lead. I was quite worried about casting in general because I knew that the film will rest on the skills and abilities of this 7 year old.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

I feel it is a part of my job description as a director to be a collaborator. Film making for me is a group effort and not a one man show. Likely for me I met a lot of wonderful film makers and friends that I would wanna work with for a really long time, during my studies at my film school in Germany.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Audiences are people, I don’t think they want something in particular because each human have their needs and wants. And I don’t think a film maker should worry about what the audience what, more than a film maker should worry about how the film is received by the audiences and their interpretations.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

A huge role, film festivals helped push my films to the global stage and give more access to more audiences from around the world. And at the same time it allowed a lot of collaborations and opportunities for me personally.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

Every filmmaker has to find the language that fits them in telling their own stories. Some choose to stick to classical which works in many cases and some choose to discover methods and models to follow, each is valid and nothing is wrong.