After directing music videos and commercials for many years, Adel Serhan transitioned to film with the 12-minute movie "Adeem" staring actress Carmen Lebbos.
Serhan won the best short film award for "Adeem" in the Slovakian "Golden Beggar" Festival.
Al-Shorfa met with the Lebanese director to discuss his latest projects.
Al-Shorfa: What does this award mean to you?
Serhan: It means a lot to me. I consider it to be like a son I brought into existence, through which I have had indescribable moments of joy. "Adeem" is the only Lebanese film that participated in the Slovakian "Golden Beggar" Festival. It competed with 133 films, including 40 American films and 40 European films. It is my first film. I invested all my energy and money in order to accomplish it. That is the reason why appreciation is very important for me.
Al-Shorfa: Why did you put all this effort into the film?
Serhan: Because of the belief that if I took a chance on it, it would reach everyone. The film addresses a clearly human story, in which I speak of martyrs who died for their rights, and for those whose lands were taken by force and were victims of aggression or colonization. In short, "Adeem" is the story of every family that has known suffering in this world.
Al-Shorfa: It seems that the "Golden Beggar" Festival Award has opened the door for other prizes.
Serhan: True, I am expecting an award from a festival in Cleveland, Ohio, in August. I will do my best to attend the event and receive the award in person. Such a tribute from foreign countries gives me motivation as a Lebanese director, from Kfar Kila, a very small village in southern Lebanon, whose film and message have reached the whole world.
Al-Shorfa: Can you tell us about "Adeem"?
Serhan: It is a movie that lasts only 12 minutes but is equivalent to two hours because of its intensity. "Adeem" is a story that contains the universally human story of defending land, the land of one's country, as an ordinary person or as a soldier. The film starts with a laugh, a mother's laugh, that capable actress Carmen Lebbos has excelled in delivering, and ends with her screaming tears the moment she meets her son as martyr in his white coffin.
Al-Shorfa: What is it like to go from being a director of music videos and advertisements to being a film director?
Serhan: It has burst the magic lantern inside me. It is every director's right to dream and think in the long term. I have dreamt and thought about this for a long time. And I have believed in myself and worked for 17 years. I struggled during those years for a goal that is higher and bigger than anything I have done before. I have studied every step very well because I know where I want to be. I do not want to have any missing steps.
At the present time, I want to be in the right place. For this purpose, I want to move towards a destination where my name, my country, our history, civilisation, future, good nature, compassion and feelings reach everyone no matter where they are. Al-Shorfa: Will you stop directing music videos?
Serhan: Directing music videos is slowly fading, but it will not vanish completely. But directing is my profession.
Al-Shorfa: Have you started preparing for another film?
Serhan: Yes, but it is a musical film combining action and comedy, unlike "Adeem," and, God willing, it will be 100 minutes long. I finished preparing the script for the film, and I am currently in the process of securing production to start with, provided it is one hundred percent Lebanese.
Al-Shorfa: Who will be starring in this movie?
Serhan: We have not discussed that yet. But certainly actress Carmen Lebbos will be with me, along with other artists who played roles in "Adeem". They represent a priority because of what they have given. As for the musical events in the film, these might be the share of artists I have worked with while directing video clips.