“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
NAY IS CURRENTLY A 3RD YEAR STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HER A FEW QUESTIONS, AND HERE’S WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY:
1. What do you consider home and what is it like?
I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. It never felt like home there until I actually moved away from it in 2017. I underestimated how much of Beirut was rooted in my identity, in the way I present myself, the stories I write... New York has undoubtedly been “home” for the past few years. But my heart lies in the warmth of Beirut.
It’s a city that you cannot but love and hate at the same time. It is chaotic, loud and crowded. Yet, nothing beats that feeling of walking into a pub in Hamra or Badaro, on a weeknight, and finding all your friends there. You spend hours inside talking about movies and art and life and of course, politics. Always politics. Or that 4 hour Sunday family lunch with all you can eat delicious Lebanese dishes that you will need to nap for hours afterwards.
New York and Beirut are very similar, in my opinion. Their chaos, the diversity, the people, the struggle. Both cities are real, they’re both tough, and they have both shaped who I am today. But my heart and identity will always be in the beautiful sodium-vapor orange nights of Beirut. And I hope to take that piece of home with me wherever I go.
2. What is currently inspiring you as a filmmaker?
Rainy gloomy days, a warm cup of tea, a good book, a genuine moment with a friend, my niece, childhood music, an early morning walk, revolution, a protest that brings all the Lebanese people together for once.
But beyond that, I have recently found that making movies has helped me answer many questions that I have within. The filmmaking process has kind of become a therapeutic part of my life - as I write the characters and explore the situations in my mind. These stories have mostly illustrated socio-political conflicts that put into question our identities and our relationship to a land that we call home.
3. What has been your most rewarding experience at Tisch?
I didn’t know I was moving to New York until 10 days before the Grad Film program started. I had never lived outside of Lebanon and suddenly, I had to pack my life in less than a month and move across the globe. Now, 3 years later, I look back and I know that was the best decision I ever made, despite how tough it was. Studying in Tisch, making movies, collaborating with friends from all over the world, and learning from our faculty not only helped me grow as a filmmaker but allowed me to challenge myself in ways that I never thought I would. This entire journey has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.