Filmmaker’s Name:  Kae Bahar

Film Title:  I Am Sami

Film TRT:  15 min.

Genre(s):  Drama

In 50 words or less, what is your film about?

Living in a war zone, 10-year-old Sami is forced to take decisions beyond his understanding; decisions that could deprive him of his childhood and change his life forever. 

What inspired you to make this particular film? 

I grew up in the Middle East under the regime of Saddam Hussein and as a child I was always forced by the adults to make very hard decisions way beyond my understanding. I believe it is in that early age where most of the damage is done.

What’s the best experience you had making this film?  What’s the worst?  Why?

The best experience was to go out with sixteen British Filmmakers from the UK to Kurdistan, a country that is not even on the maps, to shoot the film in a little town called Maxmur where the mayor and the people embraced us and gave us the best welcoming and support. The worst experience was to learn that our good friends and their little town were run over by the forces of ISIS a few months after the shooting of the film. It was very sad to get the news that the sister of our lead female actor, a young reporter was killed by an ISIS sniper.

In your opinion, what’s the best film ever made?  The worst?  Why?

The Good The Bad and The Ugly – I love everything about this film and never get tired to be inspired by it again and again. The worst film? That’s a difficult one, because I have seen a few of those, but let’s say commercial films with no heart.

RE: a short bio… Tell us about your start in filmmaking.  Who are your heroes?  Did you get your start as an actor? A screenwriter? A grip?

Growing up under the regime of Saddam Hussein, arrested at the age of 14 by the secret police and miraculously saved from death-row, I was saved also thanks to movies and my movie heroes being with me while under torture encouraging me to not give up. Those were Superman, King Kong, Tarzan, Blondy, and many others. I feel like making films is away for me to give back something and to give hope to those in need like I was at the time.  As a child I did not have books to read from, and I loved storytelling that’s why going to see movies was the best. I wrote my first novel, Letters from a Kurd, as homage to movies and to my heroes, above all to Clint Eastwood. I began as an actor, and then made documentary films. Only recently I finally have started with my true passion, making fiction and “I Am Sami” is my first short fiction ahead of my directorial debut with feature film, “Blindfold Shoes.” “I Am Sami” was completed in 2014 and so far has had 94 International festival screening winning 38 awards including 22 times for best film.

Tell us about your connection to Mississippi.  If you don’t have one, why did you choose to enter Crossroads Film Festival?

I believe good movies are carrying hopeful message to share with everyone around the world, and short films festivals are excellent platform to achieve this goal with short films. I wish I could be present at Crossroads Film Festival, but hopefully in the near future. I wish you all the very best and good luck to all the other participants, too.

Tell us about your social media presence:

  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kaebahar
  • Twitter: @ KaeBahar
  • YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN3sgIVqizs