Please introduce yourself to the readers:
I’m Rima Naim, a Lebanese filmmaker. I grew up in Saudi Arabia where there are no cinemas, which only peaked my interest more. In university I studied communications and began my journey to film very early on. After gaining my first experiences to the process of film making there was no turning back. I decided to come to Los Angeles to get my masters degree in film and have been actively working in the independent market here for the last year directing short films and documentaries. I continue working as a liaison in coalition with companies in the Middle East.
When did you first get into Producing and Directing?
During my undergraduate I had an intensive training with Mazen Fayad, a reputable award wining film director in Lebanon then went on to work as a producer at Made In Saudi Films in Saudi Arabia. I found that working on set was very comfortable for me and I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
Who are your influences in this industry?
I would say my favorite living director is Paul Thomas Anderson. I absolutely ADORED The Master, I watched it over and over and could still watch it a hundred times more. I’ve always really looked up to the works of Lynch, Jodorowsky, Agnes Varda and Godard.
What inspired you to get into this type of work?
When I was younger my parents would use movies as a kind of babysitting, so in a way it was put in my subconscious from a young age. I went to a french school in Saudi Arabia, I didn’t speak any english at the time so most the films were in languages I didn’t understand, so the idea that film is a primarily visual medium has always been very close to my ideas about story telling. Like anyone, I feel like what I do and who I am is really an organic growth out of experiences that have led me in this direction, it’s difficult to pin point that one moment. I thought to myself ” I wanna be a director.” Ultimately it’s who I am and I’ve arrived here without much conscious decision. The same way a lumber jack learns to love the feeling of wood grinding beneath his blade I’ve grown to love what I do.
What kind of training have you done?
I got my undergraduate degree in communications so I developed an understanding of media and the idea of working with actors and collaborators in a creative setting. I also got my graduate in film-making but I can say with confidence, that the best training is working on set and facing all the problems that need to be solved. Ultimately I would say that no amount of formal training can prepare you for the reality of film making.
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m going to be directing a series of Ikea commercials in the middle east, and I’m preparing to shoot a short film once I’m back in LA. I’m also developing my feature script.
What would be your ideal project to work on?
Ideally I would like to work on a film with actors that are invested in their characters, and collaborators that understand my vision. I mostly direct dramatic narratives but I’ve always had a passion for art-house cinema.
What would be your words of advice to aspiring Producers and Directors, that would like to follow your path in this industry?
It’s a painful existence but also very rewarding. That being said, I would tell them that if you can imagine yourself doing anything else and finding happiness, do that and forget film. This job is more than a business, it’s a lifestyle, and if you’re not 100% invested in it, you’ll never be happy with the work you do.