“Happiness through my eyes would definitely be telling stories that have a lasting effect on the audience.”
Sahil Hameed is a Dubai based director, writer and editor whose latest short film “Where you find it!” was chosen as one of the Top 5 films at the Happiness Films Award 2018. He has been in the Film industry since 2012 and his short movies have been official selections at over 8 international film festivals. We caught up with Sahil for a quick chat about his film.
SNEHA: The idea to create a film based on the narrative of a different individual’s perception of happiness was quite clever and unconventional. What was the thought process behind the concept of “Where you find it”?
SAHIL: When my team and I began to brainstorm ideas, we quickly figured out that we all had very different ideas regarding what happiness meant to us. It was a very personal feeling that ranged from having a hot cup of tea after a long day to seeing snow for the first time. That’s how we realized that the perception of happiness entirely depended on the person and where they specifically chose to find it. So, I decided to do something unconventional as a filmmaker, to not film at all! Instead, we asked our friends and families to send us small video clips that they captured in their moment of happiness, and we would then craft a narrative out of that to showcase the uniqueness of perception of happiness in the most authentic manner possible.
SNEHA: How was the process of making the final edit of the film? Was it more effortless or complicated given the fact you had to combine footage from around 30 people and somehow convey your message within one minute?
SAHIL: In my experience as a filmmaker, it was by far the most complicated film I’ve had to edit. Collating footage that had little to no connection with each other and then creating a visual narrative out of it to convey the required message in just a single minute was to me the most challenging part in the production of this film.
SNEHA: How did you first get involved in films? Of all the films you’ve watched, give us two that had a deep impact on you. Also, tell us about how they changed your view of life and films.
SAHIL: My father, being an author instilled the concept of storytelling quite early into my life. The progression into filmmaking was a natural one which happened pretty early in my years spent at university. A couple of like-minded friends and I got together to produce a short film over a weekend and like they say, the rest is history.
Jurassic Park was one of the first films that I saw on the big screen and that set the bar for me of how a film can transport you through time into a world where anything is possible. The other film would have to be Pulp Fiction, which impressed me with its perfect editing and sharp screenwriting.
SNEHA: What is happiness through Sahil’s eyes?
SAHIL: From a filmmaking perspective, happiness through my eyes would definitely be telling stories that have a lasting effect on the audience. But my friends and family are definitely the sources of most of my happiness.
SNEHA: Besides your film, were there any other films in the competition that you particularly enjoyed and why?
SAHIL: I greatly enjoyed the film “Happiness Within” by Kamil Roxas. I especially loved the way he used music to set the tone for the video and the expert use of b-rolls as well.
SNEHA: What kind of stories do you want to tell the world in your future projects? Do you already have a new project in mind?
SAHIL: As a filmmaker I would love to tell many different kinds of stories, to try and expand my craft.
I do have multiple projects in mind currently, out of which I am more focused on two specific projects. The first one is a feature that our team is currently developing named ‘Maximum Effort’, it’s a tale of two bumbling hit-men who’re trying to make it in the world of organized crime, and how their wishes just might end up coming true when they’re finally caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The second project is an adaptation of a short story by Stephen King to which I was recently given non-exclusive rights to by his office. I am extremely excited of course for both of these huge projects that have so much potential and I am currently looking as well for the right production partner that can help us achieve great things.
SNEHA: And finally. Looking back, if you were to make a change in the way you approached this film what would it be?
SAHIL: The only thing that I would wish to change would be their duration! Since I had to limit our film to a minute’s duration I wasn’t able to use all the footage that I had collected during the production, so definitely I would want to increase the duration.
Watch Sahil’s short film ‘Where You Find It!’:
See more of Sahil’s work on https://vimeo.com/sahilhameed