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Interview – Rakan Mayasi – ‘Bonbone’ – A Short Film


Posted November 9, 2018 by

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Interview – Rakan Mayasi – ‘Bonbone’ – A Short Film

Writer and Director Rakan Mayasi’s Palestinian film has been selected for over seventy high profile film festivals around the world. Just some of the festivals that this topical film has won awards at include Cork Film Festival, North Carolina Film Awards, the Moscow Film festival and more.

A Palestinian couple share a desire to have a child but are separated by bars as the husband is serving time in prison.  Can they devise a plan to fulfil their dreams with such a huge obstacle in their way?

Rakan Mayasi studied Cinema, Theatre and Psychology in Lebanon and then received intense film training with Abbas Kiarostami in South Korea at the Asian Film Academy. He has written and directed three independent short films and his previous short Roubama was selected for Locarno Film Festival. His latest film Bonboné had its world premier at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. Rakan is currently writing the script of his first feature film.

Producer Koussay Hamzeh has worked extensively as a line producer and executive producer on several films. Alongside Rakan Mayasi he founded the Groundglass235 collective. Hamzeh co-produced, Roubama and Sea Sonata and as an executive producer, the feature films, Stray Bullet by Geroges El Hachem starring Nadine Labaki and The Day I Lost My Shadow a feature debut by Soudade Kaadan.

Bonboné will be distributed by Salaud Morisset.

Rakan Mayasi - ‘Bonbone’


To begin with, tell us about your latest film ‘Bonbone’, what is it about?

BONBONÉ tackles the phenomenon of Palestinian sperm smuggling out of Israeli jails. The subject is real and many couples have conceived babies this way. Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are not allowed conjugal visits with their loved ones, which means they cannot have sexual intercourse, and so they’ve resorted to this method to procreate.

How did you get involved with the film?

Belonging to the Palestinians in diaspora, and having never been to Palestine, because it is near to impossible, I discovered this subject by reading plenty of articles and researching about underground subjects tackling the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict, considering it is my identity. I thought that this subject is mesmerizing. I found it to be so beautiful because it is about defiance, using love and life – how creative! And cinematic.

Tell us about the cast, who is starring in ‘Bonboné’?

BONBONÉ stars both Rana Alamuddin (Lebanese established actress, who used to be based in Hollywood and acted in Sex and the City 2, and plenty of American TV Dramas) as well as Saleh Bakri (Palestinian established actor, who has acted in plenty of Palestinian, Arab and International films). They never met each other, and I never met them in person, it all happened when they arrived onset. We had communicated aplenty ahead of the shoot, and we discussed character and plot. They were kind enough to work on the film with a spirit filled with love and humility.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

I believe if one wants to be universal, they must get back to their roots. I always like to see things from a different point of view; perhaps a new approach to subjects our eyes got used to with time and practice. I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to dig into the underground and try to find stories the world needs to see and hear. It is my duty as well to deconstruct stereotypes and challenge taboos. Master filmmakers have influenced my approach to Cinema and my view on life, and those include: Abbas Kiarostami, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Christian Mungiu, Michel Khleifeh, Coen Brothers, to name a few.

When and where can we expect to see ‘Bonbone’?

The film has been doing well on the festival circuit and I’ve been presenting it at International festivals. We had the world premiere in Toronto last year and it initiated the tour. It’s also the recipient of 18 Best Film Award and 2 Best Scenario Awards. An average of 5 film festivals a month. It should be playing in London in a few weeks.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other films or projects in production?

I am currently developing my first feature film, with the working title ‘DE FACTO’, and won the development grant from the Asian Cinema Fund (Busan International Film Festival, Korea) to write the script. And I also pitched the project in CINEMED in Montpellier last week where I also won the writing residency in Greece.
I quit my job and now I am completely free to work on the script, and very excited to begin the writing process.


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