“WE HAVE THIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR BEING PART OF THE GOOD IN THE WORLD, BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH GOING WRONG” – Tariq Nasir
LET’S ALL BE FREE FILM FESTIVAL 5TH APRIL – 7TH APRIL 2013
Tariq Nasir, was born in the United States to an American mother and Palestinian father. Tariq lived in Palestine until just after the 1967 war where around 280,000 to 325,000 Palestinians were flown out of the territories taken by Israel during and after the Six Day War which included the demolition of several Palestinian villages. At this point, Nasir and his family fled to Jordan. He later came to study in London where he learnt about banking and finances. However, in 2004 he decided to retire from banking, thinking that he may make a positive difference in the world through running his Unusuality Productions Company. This year, Tariq has decided to organize one of the most original film festivals in London called Let’s All Be Free Film Festival. The festival will tackle the subject of freedom through short films (documentaries and fiction), panel discussions and Q&As. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Tariq about it. We hope you will enjoy the interview as much as we did.
VotA: On your website it talks about how you ran away from the war in Palestine in 1967, how did that influence the creation of the festival? What was behind it?
Tariq Nasir: It had a big influence on me to be honest with you, the whole experience had an impact on my life in general. It made me very interested in questions of identity and what it means to be from a particular place because having been born in States and having both a US and Palestinian passports made me recognize as a child that your life depends on what papers you had. When I was in Palestine we sometimes had to cross the border into Jordan to see my grandparents, there we used our American papers. Because of this the Israelis where very polite and treated us with respect. However, when we used our Palestinian passports they treated us like animals. Since then I started to think about identity and the idea of what it really means to be free. And that’s really was how we came around to do this festival.
VotA: Why did you call it the ‘Let’s All Be Free Film Festival’?
Tariq Nasir: Couple of years ago I remembered hearing Bill Clinton talking, not only, about Palestinians but about people general and that all humans should be free. That’s how we came up with the idea of Let’s All Be Free Film Festival. The festival is not only about the films but also about discussions on what freedom really means to people and also if it’s possible to live in a free society.
VotA: Is that why you felt it was important to organize the festival?
Tariq Nasir: Yes, I think it’s important to get people to talk about what being free means to them. What freedom is and how we portray the freedom. We all know that freedom has many meanings.
VotA: What sort of audience would you like to attract to the festival?
Tariq Nasir: I would like to have the widest audience as possible. I think everybody has got something to contribute to the festivals’s topic. It’d be great to have a wide range of mixed people: different ages, gender, race etc. We had submissions from all over the world. People have tackled different subjects with one meaning; what freedom really means to them. There are films about gender equality, sexuality, personal freedom and political freedom. So we have many people engaging with the festival already. It would be fantastic if general public get involved as much as the filmmakers who submitted their films to the festival.
VotA: You also run Unusuality Productions. I read on one of your profiles that the production company “was created to give voices to stories that aren’t often heard and to bring people together through the sharing of personal experiences” Could you elaborate on this?
Tariq Nasir: It all came about it with my first feature documentary ‘Belonging’. The film was about Palestine. It’s a very personal count of what happened to the Palestinians in 1948 and 1967. I really wanted to make something about the people. I wanted to show a different approach. It’s not about blaming anybody, it’s just about showing everyone what really happened and that film did very well at many film festivals. And that’s how the company came about, I want to be able to find stories of people who aren’t able to raise their voice to speak out.
VotA: What does the freedom mean to you?
Tariq Nasir: Freedom to me means equality. It is about being treated as equal.
VotA: Is there any message you would like to send out to the general public?
Tariq Nasir: The message would be: I would like to see people not only as spectators but also as participants. It would be great to see people really taking part in discussions, panels and Q&As.
VotA: Thank you very much for the interview and we will see you at the festival.
LET’S ALL BE FREE FILM FESTIVAL IS FREE TO EVERYONE, YOU CAN GET TICKETS HERE.