DIRECTORS OF TRAPPED
Mohamed, tell us a bit more about yourself. Where does your desire to be a director come from?
My name is Mohamed Maged, I am a filmmaker from Egypt.
I’ve always had a passion for storytelling. My journey as a director began as a child, watching films, and telling stories to my family and friends. I was captivated by the way cinema could transport you to different worlds and evoke profound emotions. That initial fascination with storytelling and visuals fueled my desire to become a director. It’s a medium through which I can connect with audiences and share my perspectives on life and human experiences.
What is your background?
I am an international award-winning creative and film director. One of the Notable Alumni of the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, and studied at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, USA. Achieved my Bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees in filmmaking and cinema studies from the Academy of Art in Egypt.
My whole life, I have studied and worked in the art field, I worked in advertising, animation projects, TV commercials, and films, as a creative and film director, and participated in most of the hit campaigns, branding, and TV commercials in MENA over the past decade, and I was honored to win and be nominated for over 85 international and regional awards from different films and advertising festivals.
What were your references for Trapped?
“Trapped” drew inspiration from the timeless works of pioneers like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in their silent films. Their ability to convey profound messages through humor and physicality left a significant impact on my creative approach. But I wanted also to put modern elements, and my own thoughts into the story to engage most of the audience with the film story without any dialog or words.
Your film directly made us think of those of Chaplin and Keaton, with a touch of modernity, is this a tribute?
Absolutely, it’s a tribute to the great masters of silent cinema, Chaplin and Keaton. Their ability to blend humor and social commentary has always resonated with me. In “Trapped,” I sought to recapture that spirit while adding a modern twist to address current issues in a similarly heartfelt and comedic manner.
Debby, you won Best Fantasy at the RED Movie Awards, what does that mean to you?
Winning Best Fantasy at the RED Movie Awards is an incredible honor. It’s a testament to the hard work of the entire team and the support we received from our collaborators. This recognition motivates me to continue exploring the boundaries of storytelling and filmmaking.
Your film is very short, explain to us the difficulties in getting your point of view and their ideas across to the public in a very short time.
Actually, working within a short film format presents unique challenges. The brevity requires precision, in storytelling, time, tempo, and visual communication.
Each scene shot, and moment must contribute to the overarching message. The challenge lies in distilling complex ideas into a concise narrative that resonates with the audience. It’s an art form in itself, demanding efficient storytelling while maintaining emotional depth.
And also my work in video commercials has some impact on my work in short films.
What was the biggest challenge in this shooting?
One of the major challenges during the shooting of “Trapped” was the time, it was August in mid of sunny day at Universal Studio in LA, and we were shooting outdoors, my shooting schedule was very tight as we had only 3 hours to prepare and shoot the film, plus the complexity of movements and physical comedy.
Additionally, conveying the film’s message solely through visual storytelling without any dialogue was a unique challenge that demanded a great deal of attention to detail.
Do you have an anecdote to share with us in particular?
During the filming of “Trapped,” there were scenes where the main actor needed to be all the time in the middle of the exact door after every movie, as he looked he moved from different places but in the same spot as if it were leading to a surreal world.
The challenge was to seamlessly transition between the one frame and these worlds at the same time.
while maintaining the film’s comedic and thought-provoking tone. It involved some creative and innovative filmmaking techniques, and it was fascinating to see it all come together.
Can you explain to us the production methods for making this film?
The production of “Trapped” was a project I did when I was at NYFA in LA, and we had dedicated instructors and some student colleagues who worked closely to bring the story to life. The film was shot using high-quality equipment to ensure good visuals and production value. and work on the post-production phase was critical for refining the visual effects and editing to enhance the comedic timing and storytelling. It was truly a collaborative effort.
What is your next project?
I’m currently working on a film project that explores the complexities of human relationships in a dramatic and emotional manner.
It’s a departure from the comedy of “Trapped,” and I’m excited to go into this new creative challenge, aiming to connect with audiences on a different level while continuing to push the boundaries of storytelling.