After Wissame Cherfi became part of the judging panel for Dub Web Fest 2016, we had the opportunity of interviewing the French-Algerian filmmaker who has been passionate about performance since he was 16 years old. “I always wanted to perform, to be an actor. I gave it a try and I understood very quickly that an actor without a cameraman a project could not work.” This led him to put his heart behind the camera and soon he realised that he “loved the fact that you had total control of all the aspects.” His first short documentary, made 3 years and called ‘We Are Dublin’ confirmed his instict, he never stopped ever since.
You dedicate a got deal of work to Dublin, what makes this city especial?
“I have been living in Dublin for the past seven years so it is definitely a special place, otherwise I would have moved elsewhere. But there is something that keeps me here, and it’s definitely not the weather! I like the fact that Dublin is a European capital city with a mix of different nationalities and at the same time, it is a small city and you could cover any distance by walk or public transports.”
Wissame is also thankful to Dublin for being the place that allowed him to have his first real working experience, “it’s the place where I started to believe I could pursue my dreams of being a creative and tell stories. For all these reasons, Dublin is very special to me.”
Among his current projects, Wissame is simultaneously developing a mix of commercial and personal work.” I’ve worked for the Dublin 2020 team, participating actively in their campaign to be the European Capital City of Europe in 2020.” They came up with 8 videos introducing Dubliners and one final piece called ‘Dublin You Are’ which was highly noticed and appreciated online.
Wissame also worked with the St Patrick’s Festival 2016 and also on a personal short documentary called ‘Fabriqué En Chine’, which tells the story of one of the two last shoemakers in Malta and its peaceful fight against consumerism.
Who do you admire or who inspires you?
“I am a massive fan of Jacques Audiard (Un Prophète, Dheepan, De Rouille et d’Os). He recently came to Dublin for Dheepan and the next day he gave a masterclass on his career that was very inspiring.”
One of the things Wissame admires about Jacques is the way he works to reflect a more diverse and multicultural France on his films as well as the quality of his stories, “a fantastic mix of documentary and fiction. Definitely, a very inspiring film director.”
Regarding what makes a good web series, like the many he’ll be judging as the Dub Web Fest gets closer, he acknowledges that it’s quite subjective. “If you ask 10 people, the 10 answers will be very different. I think that a good web series has a strong storyline with a conflict, good actors and actresses, but most important I think it needs to surprise the viewer and not copy what have been done in the past.”
Any advice for aspiring filmmakers?
“The only advice I can give is that, if you feel that what you are doing is what you love, keep on making videos, films, web series. Never give up. Stay open to the constructive criticism. Trust your guts. Find a mentor that will explain to you what you do wrong. Don’t go to film school if you don’t have the money, invest in equipment and develop your ideas.”
Wissame invite aspiring filmmakers not to be afraid of failures, instead, “practice, practice and practice” and do their best to become good listeners.
Regarding future plans and projects, he mentions that he’s working on his first feature part-animation and part-documentary, “about a Syrian refugee who crossed the Aegan sea between Turkey and Greece by swimming. A very exciting project that will kick off very soon and that will take over all my free time over the next two years!”
Since one of his personal objectives is to tell people stories in a longer length format, this and the prospect of a feature film in the future (about which we couldn’t get more details at the moment) means that Wissame is walking the right stepts towards making his dreams come true.
For more information visit Wissame Cherfi’s website.
Dub Web Fest is the First Webseries Festival in Ireland. Established by French Filmmaker and Web Series Creator, Mikael Thiery and Videography Ireland Director, Erol Mustafov, The Dublin Web Fest (DubWebFest) unites digital media and tech worlds. We showcase screenings, host Youtube panels and welcome TV and Film production professionals to Dublin’s Filmbase over the course of three days.
Coming in November and receiving submissions until September 15.
Click here for more info.