The Smovies Season One Winners: 2nd Place – Shezah Salam “The Epiphany”

The kick off challenge, themed “Please Don’t Steal My Show” and pitched by VOX Cinemas, culminated with the announcement of the first, second and third place winners. BrandMoxie who lead the initiative with the host VOX Cinemas held a special award ceremony event at Yas Mall inviting competitors, friends and fans, judges and members of the film community. Second place winner and Director of “The Epiphany” Shezah Salam shared her experience with Tempo…

2nd Place Screenshot - The Epiphany
Screengrab of “The Epiphany” by Shezah Salam. Click the image above to watch it!

 

  • How did you first learn about “The Smovies”? Was it through a website? Through Social Media? Through Tempo? Through Friends? Etc.

I had gone to see a movie with the husband. I can’t remember the name but I remember it being a very average film so I walked out of the theatre more excited about the Smovies Advertisement that came before it. 

  • How did you come up with the concept and title of your Smovie?

Well, the general idea of ‘movies change your life’ just came to me very quickly but it took 2 or 3 rounds before I came up with the final script. They say the most important part of writing is re-writing. The idea of basing the entire movie on a jump rope came to me when watching an exercise video. I love the sound that a jump rope makes when you’re using it and I thought it would be a quirky fun thing to shoot. 

  • How long have you been doing short films? How many other film competitions have you entered? Have you won in any of those or was this your first time?

This is my first short film ever! I’m a writer by profession and I’ve had a few of my ads produced but this is my first time actually shooting and directing a film. It was an incredibly exciting experience for me, I didn’t have a professional grade camera so I used my go pro. I went and bought a small tripod and hand-held light source too and that was the sum of my equipment. I didn’t have any actors either, so I arm twisted my cousin and my husband to act in the film and wrote the script specifically with a limit of 2 characters.

  • How did it feel when your name was called up on stage as you were hailed amongst the winners of the first season of TheSmovies?

Alas, I will always regret that I could not make it to the award ceremony. I had to fly to on London the same day and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would actually win. When I finally did find out, I was absolutely over the moon. I received an email about it and for the first few seconds I just froze. This was immediately followed by a lot of celebrating. 

2nd Place - Behind the Scenes Shezah 2

  • How did the people around you (family, friends, and audience) react when they heard that you won?

Well my husband’s excitement pretty much superseded my own. He has been my biggest supporter from the very beginning and always said I would win. He was constantly monitoring the smovies YouTube page and telling me whenever there was a new entry and showing my video to all his friends. I would absolutely not have been able to do this film without him. The second person I contacted was my sister Shazia, who had been so awesome and spread the word about the film as soon as I told her about it. My mom and dad were very proud of me when I won. I’m a very shy person when it comes to my work, I don’t like talking about it on social media so I pretty much rely on my lovely lovely friends and family who do it for me.  And of course, last but not least, I called my cousin Ajwad who played the lead character of my movie. I think it was his acting that made the movie what it was. It was his first time acting but he was such a natural from the first take.

  • How can people get in touch with you? Any websites and/or social media platforms you’re into?

I mostly make comics on my blog, www.inretort.com. If anyone wants to get in touch with for making movies or other fun creative projects, you can contact me at shezah.s@gmail.com. I’m looking for a job in London right now actually, so if anybody has any leads for a writer, I’d be mighty grateful. 

  • Finally, what’s your message to those who also want to make a Smovie out there?

I think a popular sports brand said it best – just do it! Creating things is easier than ever today, all you need is a phone, or a computer that most of us are lucky to have. For everything that you don’t know, there are hundreds of tutorials available online to show you how to do it. So if you think you have a story inside you, just go ahead and write it, then go ahead and shoot it. The final product might not be what you had in mind (it certainly wasn’t for me), but with each new project you’re closer to becoming the kind of artist you want to be. 

 

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