“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
SARRA IS CURRENTLY A 2ND YEAR STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HER A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY:
Where are you from and what is it like there?
I am from the U.A.E (United Arab Emirates). I grew up in a beautiful city called R.A.K (Ras Al Khaima). It literally means “the head of the tent”. It’s a calm town surrounded by beaches and mountains, which I started to appreciate more after I lived in New York. My father was always passionate about fishing so I grew up eating delicious local seafood. The best thing about RAK is that there is not much going on. I think that’s how I developed my imagination. You end up having so much time to daydream, create some trouble with your friends and get fascinated by almost everything. I am so grateful that I grew up with four bored siblings who were my partners in crime. I made some really happy memories. I remember one time when I was a kid I was so bored I wanted to walk and reach the mountains “I want to be the explorer of the mountain and tell my mother all about it”, but I realized that my calculations for the distance were very wrong. Another time, I spent months collecting plastic bottles and cardboard boxes to finally build my own secret house. RAK is great for every artist, it gives you so much time and calmness to play, write, paint, imagine and be curious!
What or who is inspiring you right now and why?
Everyday I learn a new way of being inspired. I think the trick is to stay alive and hungry.
I can see a plastic bag floating in the air and dancing gracefully with the wind. Then my head is suddenly crowded by imaginations and words. Sometimes I go to bookshops, to the art section specifically and just stare at images all day.
I am inspired by the randomness of people in New York. Talking to strangers and people who are very different than me. Sometimes smelling random perfumes in shops could take you to beautiful places that inspire you to write.
What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?
You know when they say in orientations that it’s not about the final product but the process?
To me, this school year is all about the process. There are two projects that touched me deeply.
My 2nd year’s film project granted me an eye opening process. The challenges that I faced and am still facing defines the new level I am reaching. God, it’s been beautifully painful. The knowledge that I gained is so precious and rare that I don’t think any classroom would have taught me. I am still writing about it in my journal. My walls are filled with “lessons learned” stickers. I am inspired, I am exhausted and I want to make films more than ever. My 2nd year film helped me do so many life changes. It broke me down and lifted me up. It gave me answers. It gave me new friends. It gave me strength. It defiantly changed me and moved me. There were amazing moments like seeing what you wrote, what you dreamt of. It’s true when they say that we are mysteries to ourselves and I got to uncover a new layer of myself.
My spring narrative (Open Wound) got into Dubai International Festival. I remember submitting because I was fulfilling a promise I made to myself. To be officially introduced as a filmmaker in my country. In the past I used to volunteer in this festival and I interviewed so many filmmakers. Deep down I dreamt to be one of them. So it was beautiful to live something that once felt so far and almost impossible. The pain was worth it. I am very grateful for everyone who helped me to make it happen.