Simo Ezoubeiri, Filmmaker

"There is no right or wrong way to do a scene-the method is what works for you.” -Shah Rukh Khan.

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That's an apt quote Moroccan filmmaker Simo Ezoubeiri cited when I sat down with him a few weeks ago to discuss his current project, "Cul-de-Sac", as well as his creative process. "Cul-de-Sac" is a short film that Simo began over a year ago with close friend, Caleb Thomas. The premise came to the duo while shooting a few scenes one late Chicago night and has continued to reveal itself, though remains entirely unscripted. "I didn’t have a clear idea or a strong plot, but I only had a clear concept and vision of what I was going to make...Today it is snowing," Simo said looking out the window, "so maybe I'll shoot some scenes in the snow." This unconventional method seems to be working for him, as the unfinished film is already drawing the attention of filmmakers and critics alike.

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All of Simo's films and photographs contain an aura of mystery, weaving a delicate thread that leaves each piece to stand out on its own, whilst simultaneously baring the mark of the artist. This commonality may suggest that he is drawing his inspiration from a singular source, but that's not so. Giving his thoughts on artistry, Simo said, "I wake up in the morning by believing that anything that comes across my way should have an influence or impact. Sometimes some of these influences turn as new inspiration for a photograph, film or an article. Example: [the vision for] "Cul-de-Sac" was born when I had to write a paper about the photography of the legendary Steve Schapiro for an art class. I watched a program on behind the scenes of “Taxi Driver” on BBC, and I was taken by the gritty look of Schapiro’s exposures. The photographs stayed with me for a while and didn’t leave my imagination for even a fraction of second." This style of allowing each day to bring a new creative awakening is made apparent in Simo's earlier films, particularly "The Daily Show", which contains three segments documenting the commonplace activities in his native Morocco by providing a new perspective on each.

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While his approach may be unorthodox, it is clear that Simo refuses to compromise his artistic vision by acting in haste: "I’ve been always very patient with the process of any project I work on. From my perspective, each development has its own rhythm and beat. Beside a clear vision of what I want to achieve at the end, there was always an implicit out put I looked for. Maybe something authentic, I still don’t know even though I am always interested to find out whether people like a project or not. It is true I have become more conscious that each creativity process is imposing its rhythm and pace on me."Simo has achieved recognition throughout the world for his distinguishable style and rightfully so, but as we parted ways that afternoon, he left me with the best advice ever given to him, "There was this French lady...she was a teacher at the university and she told us, 'Remember, that you guys are working with sensitive images and sounds' ... I think it's a way of living too... That's the advice I was given, that I have to treat sounds and images with care."

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To view Simo's short films as well as keep up to date on his projects, please visit his blog.
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