We are so happy about this news because it’s been a long and arduous process. Shooting for the film started in the year 2000 in Paris. We (my dad, my mom and I) were on the way to Washington D.C. to attend my sister’s wedding. That was the event that started it all. From then on, we shot a lot of improvised scenes that were vaguely planned.
My contributions were as actor, translator, co-writer, and composer. I wrote around 3 different drafts (or I’d even say scripts) of MOONDOG. The film used to be called The Light of Other Days, then I re-named it MOONDOG after Louis Thomas Hardin… the eccentric American composer, to say the least.
The film is semi-autobiographical. It’s largely about my father and his symbolic disappearance from the mainstream film scene in Egypt around 1996 after receiving the prestigious Silver Pyramid award at the Cairo International Film Festival for one of his last 35mm films Traffic Light (1995).
My dad chose to leave fame behind to focus more on his health and his family. Along the way, he got quite fascinated by the growing trend in the ’90s of independent digital filmmaking, so he did a lot of studying and he taught himself how to use the computer and Final Cut Pro among other things until he became a tech-savvy person and a one-man film crew inspired by Rodriguez’s Rebel Without A Crew.
It’s kind of a hard challenge to a prolific filmmaker to answer this question: if I had complete freedom (e.g., freedom from big studios), what kind of film would I make?
That question took my dad 12 years to answer! And his answer is MOONDOG, with all its complexity. It’s not a film for everyone, but it’s quite an interesting experiment to experience because there aren’t many films like that out there. I can perhaps only think of a handful ones: The Tree of Life, !Women Art Revolution and Film Socialisme come to mind.
In 2009, we shot most of the fiction scenes that were missing from the original documentary-style footage that mostly involved our family and a fictional plot about my dad’s disappearance and my looking for him.
One big source of inspiration to us was Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.
I recommend that you watch MOONDOG with an open mind. After all, it’s a film that plays with time among other things, so it’s kind of hard to fully grasp the story, but if you allow yourslef to be charmed by it… you will be transported to a strange realm where conventional storytelling is deconstructed. In terms of genre, it’s docufiction because it blurs the line between reality and fantasy. The film has been shot on the following formats: DV, HDV, and HD.
It was so strange playing myself. Probably one of the strangest roles I ever had to play! I hope you enjoy watching the film and please help us spread the word about it.