Night cap with The Ostrich Politic

Meeting with...

Interview with Mohammad Houhou, director of The Ostrich Politic

la mouche cf How did you work on the rhyme scheme?
After creating the concept of the film, I wrote down 2 lines of what the story would be. Then as I began writing the script I felt a narration would serve the story well. Poetry began to flow, I felt that it strengthened the comedic and dramatic emotions I wished to deliver. I wrote a draft of the poem and then created a quick storyboard. Afterwards I worked on both the poem and the animatic simultaneously to figure out a poetic and visual balance. The film has an overall fast pace and I had to be very careful and make sure the audience is able to engage with the film without getting confused. Any additional word on certain lines might have delayed the audience’s comprehension and distracted them from understanding the story.

la mouche cf What was your interest in showing characters hiding their heads?
Ostriches have never buried their heads in the ground. Yet we have derived the phrases “Faire l’autruche” or “Ostrich policy” from this misconception. We took in some false information (without questioning it) and generated a common saying which we use everyday. We even created Cartoons and Ads about it. I wanted to question if any other information we have acquired throughout the years might have also been not necessarily true.

la mouche cf On your opinion, why does the Ostrich Government decline to face its people’s presumed danger?
In our story, the government is concerned as a result of how the citizens addressed the new law and the chaos the outraged ostriches have caused the city. The chaos here could result in an economical, and political shift in the country. When the ostriches in power felt personally affected,they decided to overlook the main issue to bring things back to a stable state.

la mouche cf How much are you interested in scientific approaches and emerging questions led by recent advances?
I love science and I admire those who pursue careers within that field. They have raised questions that have infiltrated our most “personal” beliefs and shook them from the root. The theory of evolution by itself has tackled down several religious conspiracies. In some cases however, scientific inventions could be a double-edged sword.

la mouche cf How did you select the real-life images, human, shown in the film?
It was difficult. I went through roughly 10,000 footage to find the shots that have an impact on me. The general questions I asked myself were : ‘Is what I’m seeing a result of something we haven’t questioned and a cause of falsely obtained knowledge?”.  “How genuine and real is the footage?”.

la mouche cf Would you say that the short film format has given you any particular freedom?
Definitely, every time an artist works on a short film a feeling of self-understandment is present. You have a very limited time to discover or explain a point. The shorter a film, the harder it is to send the audience a certain message. This challenge develops you into a stronger storyteller since you have to communicate within such a short amount of time.

The Ostrich Politic was shown in National Competition. 

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