“Filming in the mosque was a dream, thanks to our gracious hosts. Several vital members of our crew were women.They were not even required to wear scarves and, despite my concerns, none of the men at prayer objected; they were gracious, supportive and very tolerant of our disruption and noise”, said Mr Emirali.
The Sussex University philosophy graduate and film-maker, first featured in Cyprus Today in 2015, said: “I have great hopes for the film festival circuit for next year.”
Now in post-production, the 25-minute, allegorical drama is a “taster” for the shooting of a full-length feature film called Goats and Sheep,to be shot in Cyprus.
Mr Emirali said: “The feature is written, I dream of filming it in a deserted buffer zone village. It’s another allegorical tale but set in the 1920s”. Goats and Sheep is inspired by the film director’sancestral village of Akıncılar, affectionately known to this day by its former name of Lurucina.
“I want to bring Our Cyprus to the island and show it in universities and schools,” he said.
The film stars Bafta-winning actor Andy Lucas. His 40-year career spans roles in films such as Yanks, Quadrophenia, Sexy Beast and in TV including The Professionals, Minder and Lock, Stock to name just a few.
Mr Emirali said: “Andy Lucas is a phenomenal actor. He plays Mehmet-Ali, a bereaved Turkish Cypriot father who speaks Cypriot Greek which was the norm in the formerly mixed village of Lurucina. I recorded my uncle speaking Lurucina dialect so Andy could study it.”
The film follows the grieving Mehmet-Ali who is shaken to the core when he meets the spitting image of his dead son, a UK-born Greek Cypriot, Andreas. Their new friendship turns sour when Mehmet-Ali reveals his Turkish Cypriot name to Andreas. Mehmet-Ali however, refuses to give up on his plan to befriend the spirited young man who is so like his lost son.
Mr Emirali said: “Mehmet-Ali remembers a more innocent time when Greek and Turkish Cypriots were one people. Our Cyprus poses a question; why, throughout history, have neighbouring peoples regarded their small differences as more important than their wealth of commonality and taken up arms against one another?”
He goes on to say: “The role of Andreas is played by Angelo Marcos, an unknown actor; he blew me away at his first audition. Our Cyprus also features a cameo role by my friend Martin Askew, a Cannes-nominated actor and writer who plays Scouse Terry.”
There are also award-winners behind the camera in the shape of Ian Forbes (cinematographer) and David Wigram (editor).
“It has been the best experience I’ve had in film production and the closest I’ve come to realising my vision for a film,” said Mr Emirali.
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