Exclusive Interview with Groundbreaking Somali Filmmaker, Mo Harawe, Delves Into Cannes Debut ‘The Village Next to Paradise’: Unveiling the Behind-the-Scenes Magic with a 70% Rookie Crew

The Cannes Film Festival makes history with Mo Harawe’s debut feature ‘The Village Next To Paradise,’ a groundbreaking Somalian film. Harawe, born in Mogadishu, moved to Austria to study film at 18. His film follows a single father in a Somali village, exploring daily challenges and striving for a better future for his son, Cigaal. The story also revolves around Araweelo, navigating life post-divorce. The film stars Ahmed Ali Farah, Anab Ahmed Ibrahim, and Ahmed Mohamud Saleban, depicting a unique side of Somalia rarely seen in mainstream cinema.

Harawe shares his thoughts on premiering at Cannes, expressing excitement to see his crew’s reactions. Moving from short films to a feature presented new challenges, especially with a longer shooting schedule. Despite difficulties, Harawe and his team persevered, capturing the essence of Somali life with honesty and love.

Inspired by his own experiences, Harawe’s work reflects the world he knows intimately. While he hasn’t limited himself to Somalia, he believes emotions are universal, leaving room to explore different storytelling landscapes. Harawe remains optimistic about the future of Somali filmmaking, despite the current lack of infrastructure in the country.

Looking ahead, Harawe remains unsure about future projects, emphasizing the importance of storytelling that feels necessary. He values the opportunity to share his ideas through film and hopes to continue creating meaningful work, leaving the door open for potential future projects.

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