Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1983, Omar Elhamy grew up there before moving to Montreal in Canada and studying film. He currently works as a director and editor.
What was your starting point for Ècume?
It is often hard to find in my mind the genesis of works, a lot which is drawn from personal concerns, or ideas. I remember for instance playing football with some of the characters currently starring in the film back in 2012 and wanting to eventually work with them. I remember one, who worked at a carwash downtown Montreal, who refused to be in the film. He mentioned that he disliked films that simulated reality. I did not understand clearly what he meant, but I remember being moved by that. To keep it short: I was compelled to create something subtle in its content while touching on different realities and experiences that individuals could face in an ever-changing environment. I wrote a first draft that was passed on to the co-scenarists Paul Chotel and Jonathan Beaulieu Cyr who crystallized the ideas into a coherent narrative in the end.
Do you have a favorite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?
I personally enjoy one of the protagonist’s arrival into the scene/film. It does not follow a realistic logic, although he uses a car door to enter the scene/film flat on his stomach, physically fragile yet empowered by his gaze.
What do you like about the short form?
What I like more than the short form is that their is an outlet for it. I think that self-expression could exist in long films, short films, still images, sound, sculpture, painting, etc…
The fact that one could address more urgent concerns without having to think of distribution and the bigger cinematic machine is a relief. The idea that I could try things and fail without having to worry too much about it and still have audience is exciting to me.
photo ©Dorothea Tuch