We catch up with filmmaker Mohammad Mouselmani in the wake of his double win at the January 2021 New Jersey Film Awards…
Filmmaker and Bournemouth University graduate Mohammad Mouselmani has bagged two awards at the New Jersey Film Awards for January 2021. Mohammad, who is based in Poole, saw two of his projects screened at the awards, which premiered on YouTube on 1st February.
The first, Not Your Doll, picked up the award for Best College Short.
“Not Your Doll is a film about an impressionable teen called Alice, who wants to be accepted by her confident and outgoing classmate,” Mohammad explained. “When invited to her house however, things quickly get out of hand. Helped by her inseparable friend, they start playing a malicious game with their new shiny toy.
“It’s a story about the struggle that often teenagers face when they have to make a choice between being themselves and fighting for it. And having to make uncomfortable changes to live to others’ expectations.”
And how does it feel to win the Best College Short award?
“Hearing some good news like this is that best thing that can happen. Knowing that, with all the struggles and unfortunate life circumstances, we still managed to make something worthy of people’s attention is really great.
“We had a lot of problems on that particular set while making Not Your Doll. Mainly because of unforeseeable bad weather that made it nearly impossible to film the exterior shots. Yet we made it happen with everyone’s efforts. It makes me so proud of everyone in the team.”
BLACK AND NOTHINGNESS
Meanwhile, the second film, Black and Nothingness, an entrant at the Bournemouth-based Rising Tides Film Festival in 2020, won for Best Editing (for Sebastian Heinath). We asked Mohammad about how it felt for a film to pick up an award specifically for its editing.
“Black and Nothingness is one of the personal projects, made with very humble resources in a very tight schedule,” he said. “It’s also the very first short film I made here in the UK. We had a very narrow conceptualizing and shooting window. But with the right talent and a reliable team, we managed to create something that was praised by everyone around us.
“I had an amazing time seeing Sebastian working his magic. He’s definitely the best editor in the cohort with everyone’s approval, and I was very lucky to work with him. He absolutely deserves this and much more and I’m looking forward to work with him again on future projects.”
Additionally, one of Mohammad’s more recent projects, The Inside World, was a semi-finalist for Best Screenplay.
WHAT ARE THE NEW JERSEY FILM AWARDS?
The New Jersey Film Awards are a monthly film and screenplay competition, open to filmmakers all over the world. Given his success thus far, can we expect to see more entries into the NJFAs from Mohammad?
“As a new International filmmaker coming from a very conflicted area [Lebanon], I have a lot to figure our before I can continue to make films,” he said. “I think I need time to establish some sort of stability and to find out where I’m going to be in the next few months or years. Hopefully, when this happens, I’ll go back to making films under better circumstances and hope they get noticed by festivals like The New Jersey Film Awards.”
You can learn more about Mohammad and his work in our full-length interview with him.
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