Q) Sadia Saeed tell us about ARIFA?
It’s a film about a young British-Pakistani woman Arifa (played by Shermin Hassan), still finding her way in the world. She becomes entangled with mysterious ‘professional gamer’ Riccardo (played by Luca Pusceddu) about the same time that her absentee, bootlegging father Hameed (played by Jeff Mirza), comes back into her life.
Q) Where did the idea for the film come from?
It was partly personal experience with imagination thrown in.
Q) From idea to completion, was it a long process?
It took about 3-4 years from idea to completion… and I would say (in hindsight) that it was not as long as it could have been. I was quite impatient to get it finished. I was scared that if I lost momentum I’d lose the drive to see it through to completion.
Q) How long did it take to shoot the film?
Very quick! 15 days of photography. I shudder when I think about the stress we were all under during those 15 days.
Q) How did you go about casting ARIFA?
The film’s producer (Peter Leslie) and I personally went through the profile and showreel of every actor on Spotlight. I was looking for someone who I could believe and who made me laugh. We then did auditions and call backs.
Q) Looking back at making ARIFA is there any one moment that really stands out in your mind?
I can think of the lowest point, which was when we were about four weeks (or maybe less!) from the start of filming and this wonderful female actor who had agreed on the central role of Arifa, suddenly backed out from the film. It had taken us a long time to find her and at the time I didn’t have anyone that I felt came close. I still remember when, Peter Leslie (the film’s producer) who is one of the most positive people I know, called me to say ‘I think we might have just hit the final obstacle that will stop us from making this film.’ However we found Shermin, and the rest is history. I don’t think the original actor would have brought the sense of humour that Shermin did to the role.
Q) How did you raise the budget to make ARIFA?
It was privately funded and with our own money.
Q) ARIFA is your debut feature, what would you say was your biggest learning curve?
Making a film independently teaches you patience. I’ve learnt to listen to others but also to trust my own instinct. It also teaches you to appreciate every helping hand.
Q) Mike Lindup of Level 42 composed the musical score, how did this come about?
Peter Leslie (the film’s producer) has a long standing professional relationship with Stuart Ongley who represents Mike. Mike was an absolute pleasure to work with!
Q) Where can we see the film?
It screens at Genesis Cinema on 30th June at 1pm!
Q) What’s next for Sadia Saeed?
I’m working on a new script and will definitely keep you posted!
Thank you Sadia Saeed for taking the time to talk with BritFlicks.
Thank you BritFlicks!