We recently sat down with talented Art Director and Filmmaker Badr Farha about what inspired him growing up and how ‘Great Expectations’ played a huge part in generating his interest in film. He also shared some of his preferences when creating the concepts for his projects and what else he has coming up. Here is what Badr had to say:
When did you first get into Art directing and what do you remember most about your first experience?
Since as far back as I can remember, I’d always had a keen eye for detail, structure and tone. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed the different periods in history and would find a seemingly false sense of nostalgia when eyeing pieces of work that represented a certain time or era. I enjoy the complex nature by which objects or pieces of art come to form, much like the characters in a script. They are flawed and with this flaw, I am able to navigate the sphere of practicals or props to which best suits the narrative. I remember art directing a mile en scene for a school project which essentially reveals the story over a single shot. Deciding on what goes into a frame is a decision that lends itself to the narrative and by starting with that in mind, your decisions become much clearer as you move onto other projects.
Who or what inspired you as an artist growing up?
The movie, ‘Great Expectations’ was single handedly responsible for my decision of wanting to work in film, or at least sparked by first curiosity as to how it all happens- specifically production design elements and use of color, specifically green is one of the reasons I keep revisiting the film for inspiration and sheer brilliance by Cuaron. ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ is another film by Patricia Highsmith which is in my top 5 greats , not so much for story but for choice of wardrobe and props which suggest an extremely decadent era from which the film was set in. This is communicated to the audience beautifully and I remain in awe of the use of green throughout and amber like tones which play to the seemingly endless summer in Italy.
What do you feel is one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
This year three films I’ve worked on, ‘The Last Conversation’, ‘More Than Words’ and ‘When Negatives Collide’, were chosen to be included in the Cannes Film Festival Court Metrage
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on and why?
Every project I work on is always my favorite because the process is always the same for me. The projects that are less volatile are the ones I tend to worry about, which typically begs further questioning.
If you had a choice of what type of project or collaboration you would like to work on, what would it be and why?
Earlier in my career and for experience sake I was never too concerned over the content that would be generated during my employment on a project. As the years have taught me, I have a gravitational pull towards stories that come from a place of truth and those that speak to the human condition. I realize my efforts are best served if I am passionate about the story being told, more importantly, if I can find a way to relate or identify to certain characters within the story, then I am able to serve justice to the film at hand or in discussion.
What have you learned most about being in this business?
To trust your instincts.
What projects do you have coming up?
I will be working on the feature film ‘1982’ and the documentary film ‘Free America’.
What would be your best piece of advice to aspiring artists?
Life is too short to not be consumed entirely by what you do and in the pursuit of your passions, follow and lead your own storyline