Ashraf Hamdi is a director, actor, scriptwriter and former presenter, and also the person behind The Voice Note that people await and are getting addicted to. We had the opportunity to chit chat about his work, and how the talented director’s eye he’s got forces itself at him even when he is disconnecting with family at the North Coast.
1. You are a director, actor, scriptwriter, former presenter, who graduated from dentistry. How?
Art has always been my passion, and as soon as I graduated from dentistry I started looking for ways to pursue my passion. I was introduced to Youssef Shahin through one my mom’s friends. I had the privilege to sit and talk with him, as he believed in me. The first film I ever made was Wingrave, an international film. It was a small budget movie, but it did really well. Then I made Flowers of Kirkuk which was a hit; a lot of other very prominent Egyptian actors had auditioned for the role, but I got the role at the end.
I don’t write much these days except for maybe the voice notes which are personal. I started writing because of Mohamed Hefzy; I have to give him credit for it. As for the acting, I’m still working on my big break, for I will have to show it off to those who never thought I could do it.
2. What are the closest voice notes to your heart?
Hmm, that’s the first time I get asked this question, so I might get a little personal. I have to say first that I consider the last one “Too Far” as the best one so far. However, the closest to my heart are the ones with Tara Emad and Carmen Bsaibes. None of them was planned; they just came as I go. By the way, that’s what usually happens with all of the voice notes.
3. Why exactly did you pick those two?
I filmed Tara Emad’s clips when we were on a trip together. I just knew that I love her face and that it inspires me. The hardest part was that I had to write from a woman’s point of view and express her emotions. I believe it showed Tara’s real soul and true capabilities.
As for the second one, Carmen and I were filming a short movie which we didn’t finish, but I took shots that only show her face. I detached Carmen’s face and recalled an ex relationship at the time and started recording. I felt it’s a good opportunity to let it out artistically without people knowing who I’m referring to.
4. What about “Best Friends “Too Far”” the latest one, that torn up our hearts?
“Best Friends “Too Far,”” it wasn’t previously planned but planned at the same time if that makes any sense. I shot Souhaila’s shots while filming a commercial during breaks. I filmed Youssef El Emam while working on another project. He is my cameraman and my friend, but turned out he could act.
I then travelled with my sister to the North Coast; there were no work plans whatsoever. There I took shots of my niece and my nephew playing underwater, as I had just gotten a new underwater gear that I wanted to try. I knew that those shots will be used as a flashback for two people who grew up together as best friends and one of them fell in love with the other. That’s exactly when I knew how I’m going to use Souhaila and Youssef’s shots.
Karima Mostafa, whom I did the voice over with, was really good. I have to say she did an awesome job. She got the voice tone and texture exactly as I wished; I have to thank her for that.
5. You said you were with family at the North Coast, what compound was it that had such amazing scenery as it showed in the video?
I have to tell you even the resort’s page posted the video; it’s La Vista. My sister owns a place there, and as she knows that I’m more of a Red Sea person, she encouraged me to go to Sahel with her this time. “You will love the place, it’s exactly what you like,” she assured me. That’s how she got me to go, and she was right. It’s beautiful there and completely different from all the other resorts. I loved the place honestly.
As Ashraf Hamdi gave credit to almost everyone who played even a small role in becoming the person he is today, we should give him credit for all the great work he presents us with; extravagant ads like Otlob sound of food, Youth of Mahgoub, Samsung, Red Bull, and let alone the voice notes and the other films he wrote the screenplays for and acted in. He is a director who definitely captures beauty, whether during working hours or while relaxing at La Vista on his time off.