Demanding work paying off for Solo director

Filmmaker Nourin Zakaria (Courtesy Photo)

By Aleen Anderias

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – American University of Sharjah Mass Communication and Film student Nourin Zakaria presented Solo, her most recent film, to more than 200 people at a screening at VOX Cinemas in City Centre Al Zahia on May 23. 

Interviewed Sept. 5, Zakaria said that she was “overwhelmed” by the praise she’s received since the premiere. She shared her thoughts on the path of curating the film, saying, “It was worth all the pain that I went through especially with the editing.” 

Now a second-semester junior, she said that the most memorable feedback was from Film and Multimedia Assistant Professor Mohammed Mamdouh, who taught her in a film production class. 

Interviewed by email, Mamdouh called Zakaria “a hardworking and passionate filmmaker.”

“She has already excelled as a filmmaker,” he added, “and is a gifted storyteller who has a bright future ahead of her. I could not be prouder of her.”

In addition to receiving positive reviews, Zakaria said she had submitted her film to more than 30 international film festivals and organizations, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Cannes Film Festival. 

While waiting to hear back from those festivals, Zakaria said Pinewood Studios screened her film in London, and the Student World Impact Festival (SWIFF) in the U.S. awarded her a certificate. Their accompanying letter said that Solo was “highly appreciated” and “succeeded in stirring thoughtful dialogue amongst jury members, which is a testament to its profound impact.”

Demanding schedule

While making Solo, Zakaria said she experienced burnout due to her demanding university and filming schedules. She added that editing the footage took much longer than shooting it did. 

“I should’ve started to film earlier, but I was filming for 10 days and 12 hours of shooting each day,” Zakaria added.  

The distances between many filming sites in Dubai added to the difficulties she faced during production.

Upcoming plans

Zakaria highlighted the pleasure of working with MCM and Theatre student Noel Ceriani, who played the protagonist, by praising her work ethic and talent. 

“I would film every project with her if I could,” she said.

She said that she plans to cast Ceriani in her next project. Zakaria, now writing a script for it, said it will involve, for her, an unexplored genre.

“This time it’s going to be different since my focus has always been on societal and daily struggles,” Zakaria said. “It won’t be tragic or dramatic.”