Director Mehdi Avaz finds niche with While We Live at Scandinavian Film Festival

Mehdi Avaz
Mehdi Avaz

FEATURE film director Mehdi Avaz has found his niche with harrowing dramas.

Avaz’s first film While We Live, which he co-directed with his brother Milad, follows four people in Northern Denmark and how their fates intertwine in a tragic accident, and screens as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival this month.

His next film Kollision which is scheduled to begin filming in November, is about a custody battle between a mother and father over their 10-year-old daughter.

“It is even more devastating (than While We Live),” Avaz said.

“I like drama; I love working with actors and it is best to work with people on scenes and characters in drama.

“The only movie I would direct outside of drama is a James Bond movie.”

Avaz said he will go into his next project with more confidence than his first, in which he felt a lot of pressure.

“My first feature budget was low, it was shot in 20 days; it usually takes seven weeks,” he said.

“I was very stressed every day; in the mornings I threw up, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.

“We made it with money from private investors, so you promise everyone an awesome movie and that it will sell tickets.

“(Now that is has been well-received) I have a lot of confidence now.”

Avaz said the tragic accident in While We Live was based on a real event in his home town.

“One evening my brother called me and told me a class mate was in an accident; we were 18 years old, we were youngsters,” he said.

“It was the first time something like this had happened in this small town; it was two well-known guys, one was a pro skater and everyone liked them both.

“Everyone was moved (but) I only used the accident (in the film) and built the story around it.”

The Scandinavian Film Festival is on from July 19 to August 1.