Meet the ambitious Swedish from Arab origins, 23 year old Begonia Randhav CEO/Founder at Retina Randhav Film and Ambassador at One Young World. Recently she received the greatest honor a filmmaker can only dream of at Sweden’s Short Film Festival for her film Vägen hem / The way home – The “Cine-Magician Award”.
Arab Woman Platform had the pleasure to talk to Begonia and find out more about her second short film “The Support Group” (addressing the issue of rape culture) having its world premiere at the International Female Film Festival Malmö.
As a law school student at Stockholm University Sweden, what made you change career path and venture into film-making?
I’ve always been interested in the film industry, both as an actress and as a filmmaker. I’ve also always been dedicated to fighting for human rights and inequality, and I realized that I can do that through art and film-making as well. I realized I didn’t have to choose, and that I could be both an academic and an artist.
Where do you get ideas for your films?
Everywhere! Anywhere really! My inspiration comes from so many different things: it can be anything from my human rights activism, people I meet, the news, sounds, a beat in a song, anything!
What do you hope to accomplish through your film-making?
As we live in very dark times, I use film to provoke a discussion. I’m convinced that a pen and paper can change everything, especially when the camera is my weapon.
As you are from Arab origins does this play a role in the choices you make when it comes to your movies?
Absolutely! First of all, people of color are always depicted as villains or criminals in films, which creates an ignorant and harmful stereotype and is racist to be honest. My ambition is to break stereotypes and free society from homo- and trans-phobic, racist and sexist elements. I take great pride in building a stronger representation within film.
I don’t want to just tell about yet another white middle class guy who goes from zero to hero. It’s been done a million times. And quite frankly, it’s boring. I want to show the world for what it is, real feelings, real issues that are hard to talk about or that nobody wants to talk about, real people, people that everyone can relate to.
Tell us more what your movie “The Support Group” is about and what you are trying to accomplish with it?
Sexual violence and rape is such a taboo subject in society, and it’s never easy to talk about. My hope is that The Support Group will make people want to talk about these societal issues. By showing these characters who meet within a support group and talk about their state of mind, experiences, their healing process and so on, I want to encourage and give people the strength to speak more openly about the matter, and even open up about their own experiences. Because if we never talk about sexual violence – how will we then ever solve this global issue? Sexual violence shouldn’t be a taboo subject to talk about, rape should be a taboo action.
What are some of the things you learned from this journey?
Never to limit my imagination! I didn’t have a lot of finances while making my films, so when my technical equipment were lacking, I had to get really creative. The word independence got a whole new meaning for me. People make indie films with a budget of a couple of million dollars. I made it without a single dime, but with people who gave their entire hearts to the project.
What is next for you?
Now that I’ve won the Cine-Magician Award at Sweden’s Short Film Festival, I’ll be able to make another short film, which will be screened next year at their 60th jubilee. I can’t really tell you what it’s going to be about just yet, since this industry is so secretive haha!
What advice would you give young girls who want to take up film making as a career?
Never take no for an answer! There are going to be a lot of people who are going to say “No, you can’t get funding to make a film because you don’t have enough experience”. And honestly, if you never get to make a film, how will you ever get the experience? If you want to make film, do it! Don’t let funding and technicalities limit your spirits. Be creative, let loose and everything will be alright! Your voice matters.