Mahmoud Al Massad: This is My Picture When I Was Dead

Thu Oct 04,2012

MAHMOUD AL MASSAD

THIS IS MY PICTURE WHEN I WAS DEAD

First Prize Muhr Arab Documentary 2010

Mahmoud Al Massad has received international acclaim for his documentaries Shatter Hassan, Recycle and This is My Picture When I Was Dead (Muhr Arab Documentary) reaching international and regional audiences. The Arab World Child Association chose Al Massad to be the 2002 Arab Ambassador of Culture. 

Recycle was awarded the World Best Cinematography Award at Sundance in 2008, screened at over 130 international film festivals and was theatrically released in several European countries as well as screened on ITVS Independent Lens (USA). His current project Blessed Benefit received the Abu Dhabi Film Commission Shasha Grant among more than 160 projects, won the ARTE award at Dubai Film Connection in 2011 and was selected for the Cannes Film Festival's programme L'atelier 2012. 

We caught up with Al Massad to find out what he’s been up to since his 2010 Muhr win:

Can you describe your experience of participating at DIFF in 2010? Were you expecting to win in the Muhr competition?

Mahmoud Al Massad: It was a wonderful experience and there was good feedback about my film. It was well received by the audience, which made me feel that I have a higher chance of winning the Muhr Award. Receiving the award meant a lot to me; it was an honour and a great recognition. 

This is My Picture When I Was Dead has a strong DIFF connection - having been at Dubai Film Connection as a project in 2008 as well. How would you explain the evolution of your film against the DIFF backdrop?

MAM: DIFF was a blessed place to begin my film in and more of a blessing to end the process with an award.

What did the Muhr win represent for you?

MAM: It was a great recognition and the financial support was a great push forward for me to freely work on my next project.

Since DIFF 2010, where has This is My Picture When I Was Dead screened? Did it win any more awards?

MAM: Its world premiere was in IDFA, which is a major film festival in the world of documentary. It also won the Audience Award at the Tubingen Film Festival and competed in Hot Docs Toronto as well as many other film festivals.

What are you currently working on?

MAM: I am working on my first fiction project Blessed Benefit, which also participated in the Dubai Film Connection last year and received the Arte Award. 

Given the infancy of the Arab film industry in some countries, what does DIFF represent for Arab film in terms of realising a film from script to screen?

MAM: I think Dubai Film Connection is the only co-production market in the region that has an international platform where the Arab film industry aims to be. 

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