The Polish director, Krzysztof Kieslowski, who was my directing mentor while I was at NYU, said that great directors always tell stories differently but linked to the same theme. I guess “the fish out of water” theme connects all my films. It reflects my upbringing and my view of the world. My father is Egyptian, my mother Swiss. I've learned to deal with different cultures, identities, mentalities and even different senses of humor. Overall this rich experience has shaped my approach to stories as a director. It’s an obsession of mine, that people in different places are thinking the same thing, but for different reasons. I guess I try to make films which connect people to the other "fish out of water".
I now live in L.A. I have also lived and shot films and TV shows in different countries: America, Tunisia, France, Switzerland, Egypt and the Emirates. This diverse cultural background has allowed me to get inside different perspectives which I apply in my creative work and in my interaction with actors and collaborators. It has also forced me to adapt to multiple environments, think quickly on my feet, and assemble the best available talent and production teams in virtually any situation.
Critics have described my visual style as very sensual. I don't really think about it or plan it per se, but I try to capture my characters' truths as closely and authentically as I can to bring out subtext that is simmering beneath the surface.
Since I can remember, I've always had the urge to lift up a stone to see what's underneath.
Hollywood, Los Angeles, April 2015