200 meters

Palestinian director and producer May Odeh talks to us about her award-winning film 200 Meters. The film was premiered at the 77th Venice International Film Festival where it won the BNL People’s Choice Audience Award and was shown at the El Gouna Film Festival.

By Mariam Elhamy

Do you usually focus more on delivering what the audience wants or what you believe the industry is lacking?

As I produce I follow the stories that touch me. It does not matter if it’s a documentary, short of fiction. I guess this is the key that makes me commit to producing a film. So far I have produced many subjects with different visions, I’m so proud that all of the films were so well received both by the festivals and the audience.

Saying that, I’m searching for the sort of stories that the industry is lacking like family stories. I also want to produce content for kids and families in Arabic.

What role have film festivals played in the film industry so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

As we all know, one of the most difficult issues we are facing in the film industry in the Arab world is distribution, so to have film festivals around the Arab world, in particular, helps the audience discover your film. Either from the chance to watch the film at the festival or hear about it from the buzz created by the press or from the prizes at the festival.

Festivals are also important for the industry before the film is even finished, through the co-production markets. I guess in the Arab region most of the festivals are aware of how important to make a market, to discover new projects that might be a hit in the upcoming years after the festival.

Any upcoming projects you’re currently working on?
Currently, I’m working to finish two documentaries, and developing a few features.