19 March 2010
Waiting for bloody Godot must have been easier than waiting for Nizam, my life seemingly revolves around waiting and waiting never knowing if he will show up or not. In Oslo he has a very busy work schedule and an extremely troubled family life, so he ends up bouncing from one to the other and now, he also has the problem of me and my needs thrown into the frantic mix. His partner is completely against us making this film and won’t even agree meet me. I sense, not surprisingly, that this added pressure is exactly what Nizam doesn’t need right now.
Torn between getting his family life back together and making a film with me he must obviously prioritise his home life, but when he said he was taking a vacation from Oslo to see a friend in Bergen it seemed a good time to catch-up and get some filming done.
For me it was also difficult to organize, I had my own kids to care about and managed to get my mother to come down to London, which allowed me to make a flying visit to Norway. Following my night-time arrival Nizam and I just sat and drank with his bubbly Iranian friend, I didn’t want to film on the first night and hoped to do some the next day but, as usual, I found myself imprisoned in my hostel waiting for his call.
Nizam eventually rang at 5 and we met in darkness at 8pm. I’d already given up the idea of filming this beautiful city with him, and anyway he wanted to cook something before taking off to a jam-night in a local bar. I saw a glimmer of hope, maybe I could at least film a cooking scene at his friends place, but this was short lived as he asked me to stop filming, he didn’t feel up to it.
So we ate the wonderful couscous he made and hit the bar, I tried filming but he wasn’t interested so I didn’t push it. Instead I watched the scenes we could have filmed. A great conversation with a Norwegian guy in the bar about the simple life he misses in Syria, followed by lots of Norwegians drinking and partying hard and then hordes of them drunk all along the streets as we headed home with my camera still locked in its bag.
Any-time soon I’m supposed to sign contracts with a German agent to sell this film, a film already commissioned by the BBC, nearly commissioned by the Japanese, and with a possibility of Norwegian TV coming on board too. Now I wonder what to do, do I push someone who isn’t interested in being filmed anymore, do I continue to try and convince Nizam of why he should be filmed, why it mattered to him and to me, or should I just cut my losses and call it a day?