about-me

Laila Hotait Salas is a Lebanese-Spanish filmmaker and artist and holds a PhD in Film studies.

Her work has received support from institutions such as the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, the Sundance Documentary Fund Program, the Screen Institute Beirut and the Doha Film Institute. Her first documentary, Crayons of Askalan, was screened in festivals including Hot Docs, the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, CPH:DOX, DocsDF and V.O.D. platforms such as Mubi, Feelmakers and BBC Arabic.

She lives now in Mexico and has worked as a full time teacher at Tecnologico de Monterrey for five years.

FICTION FEATURE

PRODUCER: NADIA HOTAIT

DIRECTOR & SCRIPTWRITER: LAILA HOTAIT

A SUITCASE FULL OF PHOTOS CONTAINS THE KEY TO A SECRET THAT REVEALS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN REGIONAL POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE LIVES OF THREE GENERATIONS OF WOMEN FROM THE SAME FAMILY.

HAY UN SECRETO EN UNA MALETA LLENA DE FOTOS QUE ESCONDE LA RELACIÓN ENTRE LA POLÍTICA REGIONAL DE ORIENTE MEDIO Y LA VIDA DE TRES GENERACIONES DE MUJERES DE UNA FAMILIA.

Exterior & Interior
Dalal, Abla, Uda’s house, Cairo

Cairo, 2018.

A bomb explodes in downtown and sends a woman to the hospital.

While she stays in the hospital, her daughter, a young girl at the door of adolescence is then forced to live together with her grandmother, a photographer eaten away by a secret buried in Lebanon forty years ago and with too many broken political dreams.

In the process of reconstructing this relationship, it is revealed and made clear how the political past of the entire region is completely linked to the present of all of them, to their interrupted desires and to a terrible and complex truth hidden in a suitcase full of undisclosed photos.

 

Interior
The café where Hossam reveals his secret. Cairo 2016.

“DO NOT PACT”

AMAL DUNQUL

“IF MEMORY IS THE REALM WHERE THE PRESENT IMAGINES THE PAST, THEN DEATH IS THE POSSIBILITY OF A FUTURE MEMORY”

SONIA FERNANDEZ PAN

In the contemporary Arab world, the past explains and hides the secrets plot twists that allow us to understand the present and therefore, hide the truth that can change the future.

In the Arab countries every day and the intimate life of every individual are deeply affected by the political and social events that take place in the region: war, occupation, post-colonialism and dictatorship. While, at the same time, those very same Arab citizens do fall in love, try to understand the meaning of life and go through the universal traumas and joys every stage in life has. This film brings this idea to the front.

Everything that has a future is based on the idea that we all are an architectural structure made of souvenirs and amnesia, both with the same weight, reflecting this in our individual and collective History.

Ultimately, this is also a film about the physical aspect of memories and how our body, in the case of this story, the female body, is as important as the soul when it comes down to building ourselves in abstract.

“DO NOT PACT”

AMAL DUNQUL

“IF MEMORY IS THE REALM WHERE THE PRESENT IMAGINES THE PAST, THEN DEATH IS THE POSSIBILITY OF A FUTURE MEMORY”

SONIA FERNANDEZ PAN

In the contemporary Arab world, the past explains and hides the secrets plot twists that allow us to understand the present and therefore, hide the truth that can change the future.

In the Arab countries every day and the intimate life of every individual are deeply affected by the political and social events that take place in the region: war, occupation, post-colonialism and dictatorship. While, at the same time, those very same Arab citizens do fall in love, try to understand the meaning of life and go through the universal traumas and joys every stage in life has. This film brings this idea to the front.

Everything that has a future is based on the idea that we all are an architectural structure made of souvenirs and amnesia, both with the same weight, reflecting this in our individual and collective History.

Ultimately, this is also a film about the physical aspect of memories and how our body, in the case of this story, the female body, is as important as the soul when it comes down to building ourselves in abstract.

The film Everything that has a future is an extremely intimate film, despite having the turbulent political context of the contemporary Arab world as a background, so all the elements from production design to cinematography will go in this particular direction. All this because the key idea of the film is that Dalal, the film’s main character learns to forgive herself as well as she rediscovers and reconnects with herself so the audiovisual elements of the film will evolve in this direction. There will be a tension between very classical composed images and a story that gets more and more intimate allowing us to let emotions dictate the framing and camera movements.

Another key factor will be that we will deliver an elegant film in all of its elements as this is how I feel and see both Beirut and Cairo, by this I mean that the sound will never be disturbing and in the images I will always favor beauty despite the turbulent story and its secrets as this is how I envision the camera can honor the story it has to tell.

This is a film of atmospheres that will move the viewer beyond the local facts, bringing out the protagonist universal feelings and my ultimate intention, as in all my artworks and videos is to transport the viewer on a long journey of emotions that has something of a hypnotic trip, getting as deep as possible into the skin and memories of Dalal.

The two key places for me are the two apartments where Dalal lives both in Cairo and Beirut.

Beirut’s apartment is temporary and Dalal was not planning to stay for two years, so there will be very few pieces of furniture and we will only build a dark room for her photography work. The house in Cairo will have to be somehow rundown and, again, does not have too many pieces of furniture but mainly some of Dalal’s photographs on the walls.

The look of the film will be realistic but always have a sense of sophistication and elegance while the landscapes will have a sense of rustiness as the sea has affected them.

Locations are key in this film because they will reflect the character’s feelings and sense of belonging in each part of the film story. The film changes in location and time but the story is very much focused on the characters and their thoughts so production will only be an issue of wardrobe and a few pieces of seventies furniture in Lebanon that will be acquired at local Basta Flee Market.

In the seventies, the locations are very concrete: the leftist organization headquarters and offices which have not changed much in Lebanon and the Bar where Ali and Dalal finally get close and intimate.

Among the contemporary locations, Dalal’s small photography shop is another main one..

PROJECT
HISTORY

2012– 1st draft, in the meantime made a documentary and two shortfilms.

2015- Doha Film Institute development grant.

2015- Scouting trip: Lebanon, Egypt

2015- Works with script editor Carlos Contreras

2016- March, Selected to participate in Qumra, 2016, Qatar
Laila works with script advisor Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten
The project attracts interest from ART TV, Egypt.

2016 June-September- Work with script editor Ana Sanz Magallón

2016 August- Norwegian coproducer, GO FILM, confirmed their interest in supporting the project to apply to Sørfond fund in the future.

2016-September, Nadia works in several aspects of the project with Julek Kedzierski. (MMP coordinator).

2016 October- we are invited to Cairo Film Connection, we got in touch with Egyptian Line Producers, and other crew, as well as producers from Egypt.

2017 April- Laila reviews script with Story-editor doctor Ana Sanz Magallón.

2017 May- Stolen Skies script is selected for Cine Qua Non Lab, International Script lab.

2018 Finished script. Change the title to: EVERYTHING THAT HAS A FUTURE.

Also, in the meantime we have produced and directed the short-film and video-installation “The Night between Ali and I” (2015), from the same time period of part of our film (Lebanon 1973),
That has been selected in festivals such as:
Guanajuato International Film Festival, July, 2016; Les Rencontres Internationales, Berlin and Paris, March 2016
And exhibited as a video-installation in venues such as: at the Arsenale, Venezia, 2017, Ex-Bazzi, Milan, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2015.
And which has received the prizes of: Arte Laguna Art Prize -Artist in Gallery-2017, Arte Generaciones, Spain, 2015.
It has also been acquired for BBC Channel.
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Laila produced, wrote and directed in Mexico, 2017 the short film RECUERDA, that got 5 nominations, among them Best Director, at the Pantalla de Cristal Film Awards in Mexico and got 2 of them.

SUPPORTERS

LET’S TALK:
LAAVENTURA ART FILMS. REGISTERED COMPANY.
NADIA HOTAIT:
CREATIVE PRODUCER NADIA@LAAVENTURA.NET LAILA HOTAIT:
DIRECTOR & SCRIPTWRITER LAILA@LAAVENTURA.NET