Emilio Gamal Boutros
Emilio is the director of
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into filmmaking.
My parents used to take me to the cinema a lot when I was a kid. And when they were not taking me, I was the one dragging them. I loved movies and at the same time feared them (Jurassic Park scared the hell out of me!). At 14, I watched The Godfather for the first time. It instantly became my favorite film and changed my life. From there, the desire of somehow becoming a filmmaker grew in my head and the dream has driven my every move since. I grew up in a small village in the South of France (which is where we shot Dino), before going to Bournemouth to study filmmaking. I then came to London and looked for work on film sets. I started as a runner and joined a production company. Little by little, I made my way into directing by making short films with small crews, small cast and small budgets but a lot of passion.
Q: Who or what inspires you in your craft?
It’s a bit silly, but I often think of a filmmaker as an athlete. Basically, you gotta do what you gotta do in order to win (winning meaning making a good film). In that sense, boxing and MMA inspire me a lot. I am in awe of those guys (who generally come from very humble beginnings) who put their bodies through traumatic and violent experience in order to attain the one thing they want, and the discipline and dedication that come with it. It’s emotional and cathartic, just like the experience of making a film. I am also inspired by independent filmmakers like Wong Kar-Waï and John Cassavetes. He’s a director who was obsessed with capturing truthfulness and telling human stories. There was no artifice or unnecessary violence in his films, just raw, truthful human beings. This kind of authenticity is something I aspire to achieve.
"I feel like disabled people have been side-lined from society (if not bullied) at work, at school but most importantly in our friendships and relationships"
Q: Tell us about your film, what its themes mean to you and what you hope others take away from it.
Dino is my little brother. While growing up with him, I was part of the challenges he’s had to face in his life, of the conflicts that were born from his dyspraxia. I came to realize that he had a lot to tell and that his story could inspire some of us. So we began collaborating on this documentary hoping we could bring a bit of visibility to this otherwise invisible disability.
I feel like disabled people have been side-lined from society (if not bullied) at work, at school but most importantly in our friendships and relationships. So I wanted to give a disabled person a voice, for him to be the narrative force of a film, its engine.
My task is always to get inside my protagonist’s head and to translate who he is and what he is going through visually. I want to get the audience as close to him as possible. That was what we worked on with my DP, Lee Thomas. We let ourselves be guided by Dino’s words and sought the locations, the shots that would poetically translate his story. It was important to understand what dyspraxia is through a kind of sensitive and visual journey.
Hopefully this film can spark a conversation around disability, make us reflect on how we could include it more in our modern world.
Q: Are there any causes that your film is inspired by?
The film was not inspired by any cause but more by a need to tell a story, a need to show how tricky the road can be for certain people. How can one find his/her way in a society that doesn’t reflect them? That’s the question that I wanted to explore. In a sense, it could be linked to some issues that some of those causes raise. But to the core, I guess it’s more about simple human consideration. Different people from different background can often struggle with the same need, the same basic human need of, like Dino says, "finding yourself within your own self".
Q: What's next for you?
Every time I finish a project like Dino, I feel like I’m back to square one of the learning stage. I have to feed myself again through readings, watching films, going out for long walks, staring out the window for two hours, listening to music, writing stuff and things, researching again and again until something sticks with me. I would like to make another longer short film, a fiction or a documentary. I’ve got a few ideas but I’ll have to see where they lead. Otherwise I’ve just shot a music video for a French band called Projections that will be out soon!