Hamad AlTourah: Playtime – Waqt Al La’ab
Playtime is a short film about Matthew, a 10 year old expatriate who’s just moved to Kuwait with his single mother, whose just been hired for a post at an American Army Base. One night, after his mother leaves him alone for the first time, he escapes to track her down. Instead, he quickly crosses paths with Dalal, a teenage Kuwaiti girl who lives next door. Fearing a second abandonment, Matthew convinces her to help him find his mother.
What Matthew doesn’t know is that Dalal needs more help than he and that the only way to combat his own feelings of alienation is to stop depending on the care of others. Having descended far into the depths of the Kuwaiti desert, Matthew must fend off some threatening characters and return the two of them safely home.
A Note From The Filmmaker
For those of you who do not know me, I am Hamad Al-Tourah, an Arab-American filmmaker based in Kuwait. When I sat down to write a script set in Kuwait, I couldn’t help but write one that depicted not only Arabs, but also centered around expat communities in the country.
My own experience growing up Kuwaiti was informed by the many interactions between mixed nationalities in a landscape that changed drastically at every turn. Shawarma stands operate besides American hamburger joints; U.S. military bases dot the landscape just beyond Kuwait Oil Company’s oil refineries. I was constantly shifting between American friends and Kuwaiti friends, Kuwaiti Arabic and American English, Eid and Christmas. In a society outnumbered by foreigners 3:1. it certainly makes sense to write a film that highlights this diversity centered on an expats experience as he begins to explore this new home of his.
I want to make a film in the Middle East that more honestly showcases its unique cosmopolitan society, rather than cling stubbornly to a construction of ‘exotic Arabness’. Instead, by illustrating the relationships between Americans and Kuwaitis, I want to point to some of the more acute social implications of the American presence here. Individuals from both cultures begin to mingle as they explore each other with child-like curiosity. Dalal and Matthew both deal with a similar sense of loneliness and, exploring the Kuwaiti landscape together, they learn that there is no place quilte like the homes they have in Kuwait.
What We Need & What You Get
Professional equipment in Kuwait comes in limited amount and is therefore slightly more expensive. So, all funds donated via Indiegogo will be used solely to cover those equipment costs. Your contribution will go directly to the physical production. A contribution you can literally see.
If you are in Kuwait, your donation can also get you a debut on the big screen and some one-on-one time with the director and his sister, Chef Danna Al-Tourah of Tatami, in the kitchen. Get the actors treatment or enjoy an afternoon with a friend in the kitchen. We want to make sure that you know how much we appreciate your efforts not with just an online thank you, but in person.
If you are not in Kuwait, you can still get personalized perks. Once donation period has ended, I, the director, will personally go out in Kuwait to hand pick something for you, along with a personalized, handwritten thank you from the cast and crew. Next time I’m around your parts of the world, lets arrange to meet up and see the film together.
Not only that, but get a piece of Kuwait history. Brett Jordan, a former Kuwait Expat whose photos have inspired the look of the film, has agreed to allow us to print his original photography from Old Kuwait on postcards. You’ll receive a set of three postcards of Old Kuwait that have been otherwise lost.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to reconnect with old friends from Kuwait to foster and collaborate on a truly home grown production. Together, we aim to produce a film of professional quality fit for international film festivals and put Kuwait on the global cinematic map.
Your donation can connect you to that homegrown effort no matter where you are in the world and no matter what your capacity to otherwise help is. The hope is that our success will encourage other young Kuwaiti filmmkers to follow in our footsteps and create something unique, yet universally relatable. By making an impact on the global scene we are encouraging local invsetors, producers, and film lovers to recognize the far reaching potential of Kuwaiti filmmakers.
Other Ways You Can Help
For anyone who can’t help financially, please take the time to tell someone about the project or post it to friends who you think might be interested in donating. Finally, keep a lookout for a screening near you and check out the film!