AN INTERVIEW WITH Issam Akel, ACTOR & FILMMAKER


As a filmmaker, please introduce yourself

My name is Issam Akel(Sam), I’m 42 years old Jordanian National with Palestinian Origins born in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Why you became a filmmaker as director and producer and actor?

Ever since I finished my BFA in Atlanta, Georgia I had a thing for Hollywood & The Film Industry. However growing back

in the 80 & 90s, kids knew little about following dreams & being passionate. It was mainly get an education, find a job & start a family.

By 2016 after achieving almost everything I set for myself, I realized that it wasn’t enough. I was 38 years old, married & father of two

but I didn’t let that stop me; so I started looking deep inside figuring out what I’m passionate about which eventually prompted to

a lot of travels to North America. Did a lot of stunts straining, met people in the film industry and fell in love with Stunts & Acting.

However not having the proper papers to live & work in North America, I did my level best to gain the skills needed,

taking more stunts classes, taking part in small shorts & commercials, learning more about acting, shooting videos, creating content,

becoming a social influencer plus being part of some indie movies.


Give some more information about yourself and the films you have made so far, about your experience?

I started with doing small action reels in Los Angeles, and my first minor acting role as an indie movie Zombie with A ShotGun in New York.

I was also hired for TV & Online Commercials, for clients such as Renault Cars, Saudi Telecom Company, Jebel Jais Zipline.

I also became a content creator & an influencer doing storyboards, acting & shooting for clients. I’m also a producer on Code8 Film shot

in Canada and was recently a stuntman on Jackie Chan recent movie called Vanguard shot in Dubai. I did small shorts such as

‘Entitled to Dream’ that every kid is actually entitled to dream and few others mainly inspirational films.

I was most recently hired by Abu Dhabi Culture & Tourism in doing a small film for an Arts Gallery about a beautiful but cursed girl back

in 1950s which I called ‘Curse & Temptation’. In addition of course to my main short ‘To You, Me & The Next Generation.’

4- What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Christopher Nolan’s Films: Batman Trilogy, Inception & Interstellar. The Amazing hard working Actor such as a Tom Cruise. But what got me started was CW Arrow & Marvel’s Daredevil as they spoke to me and I was truly eager in being part on those shows.


5- You have made your nice short film "To You, me & the Next Generation" which was Officially Selected in the "American Golden Picture International Film Festival".

As a filmmaker, why you decided to make this powerful film?

As I mentioned above a lot of kids grow up and dreaming is like a far fetch illusion to them. On the other hand, there’s a misconception that when a person reaches 40-50 that life is nearly finished for them physically & mentally. So majority of what I do whether physical & flips at the age of 42 to putting my 20 years advertising profession on the side is to inspire people, the young & mid aged people. That nothing is impossible, that life without dreaming & taking risks is not worth living. Which is why at the end I tried showing myself 30 years older but, looking at my life as a young man and advising my grandkids to do their best and live a life with no regrets.


6- What were some of the challenges you faced in making this shor film?

To be frank part of it was shot during the quarantine so there were some creative limitations; editing was challenging as there were more than 40 clips in the film. In addition, making myself look like 60 years old without a makeup artist due to quarantine & budget limitation was tough.


What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Christopher Nolan’s Films: Batman Trilogy, Inception & Interstellar.

The Amazing hard working Actor such as a Tom Cruise.

But what got me started was CW Arrow & Marvel’s Daredevil as they spoke to me and I was truly eager in being part on those shows.



You have made your nice short film "To You, me & the Next Generation" which was Officially Selected in the

"American Golden Picture International Film Festival".

As a filmmaker, why you decided to make this film?

As I mentioned above a lot of kids grow up and dreaming is like

a far fetch illusion to them. On the other hand, there’s a

misconception that when a person reaches 40-50 that life is nearly finished for them physically & mentally. So majority of what I do whether physical & flips at the age of 42 to putting my 20 years advertising profession on the side is to inspire people, the

young & mid aged people. That nothing is impossible, that life

without dreaming & taking risks is not worth living.

Which is why at the end I tried showing myself 30 years older but, looking at my life as a young man and advising my grandkids

to do their best and live a life with no regrets.



What were some of the challenges you faced in making this shor film?

To be frank part of it was shot during the quarantine so

there were some creative limitations; editing was challenging

as there were more than 40 clips in the film. In addition, making

myself look like 60 years old without a makeup artist due to

quarantine & budget limitation was tough.



Tell us more about your experience in this film?

It was a wonderful experience, it was one of the projects

that exhausted me mentally as I put all my heart and time into it.

But it was one of those projects that I really felt good about

when I finished it, that is an incredible work. So sharing it with

friends & family before launching it, I got the same feedback

that it is truly inspirational. The feedback on it was totally overwhelming, so I am really grateful.

The idea, cinematography and acting is wonderful and supports the short drama in a very powerful and effective way.

How many people worked behind the camera and how you achieve it?

As I mentioned part of the film was shot during quarantine, so it was challenging and impossible to get a crew.

So I had to improvise, my 9 years old daughter took some shots : the beginning where I was on bed, looking out of the window & shaving.

Also the ending part, I had my wife film that part for me with the kids. I had an online editor that did the color grading & some post production. But several of the clips in the short were shot during the past 12 months and many of them we had anywhere between 4-10 people on set.


For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn after making this film?

That nothing is impossible once you set your mind on; and that film industry can notice & acknowledge someone’s good work,

even if it was for a fresh filmmaker on the other side of the world.

Do you like to continue filmmaking? What keeps you inspired to continue?

Definitely! I was actually losing hope as everything I tried to get in the film industry never worked.

But getting recognized by American Golden Picture International Film Festival, winning Best Inspirational Film in Top Shorts Film Festival,

being a finalist on another rebuilt the confidence that my work is worth watching. I’m humbled being approached by

some of the Top 50 Festivals around the world, congratulating me on "To You, me & the Next Generation" and inviting to be part of

their upcoming festival. Not to mention, how it touched many people. I’m truly grateful.


What are your filmmaking goals?

Wheew they are a lot! For starters, I do believe there are commonalities between filmmakers and viewers.

We are all humans and face similar challenges in our lives. So I want to make more films about my personal challenges that the audience

would relate to. I would also like to make a film about my life story, a 42 years father that was courageous enough to stand against the tide, against what “norm’ is in his culture and pursue his dreams and passion against all odds. I would like be an actor on Blockbuster Movie, work with Christopher Nolan, be on a great TV Show, and hopefully be nominated for an Oscar when I’m 50! (We are entitled to Dream, no?)


What is your next project? 

A short Film about Sleep Disorder.

A short non English Motivational Film as they’re only few around.


Good Luck Issam


Issam's Links:

Website:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/akeli/


IMdb:

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7656049/


Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/spirit_phenomenal/


Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AkelIfadel

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