Filmmaker Claude Morcos has released his most recent film project, Awning, a short film bringing together an unlikely (digital) collaboration of creatives from South Africa, Egypt, Bulgaria and the USA.
Speaking on the project, Morcos says:
“The short film was a challenge for many reasons, not limited to pandemic restrictions, a risky chance taken on digital strangers (I met them online through a random Facebook drop), time zone differences, remote difficulties, and nearly no budget at all. In the end we managed to complete this film in time for its release (March 31st).”
We caught up with Morcos in this SPOTLIGHT Q&A to find out more about Awning, his earliest memories of film, what’s on his creative radar and more.
First off, can you tell us about yourself and your new short-film, Awning?
My name is Claude Morcos – I’m a film maker and music producer working between Cape Town, Cairo and Los Angeles. Awning is my most recent directorial/music-producing effort: a six-minute short film about a woman who finds composure in music and in the dark, wide expanses of nature; in this case, the pristine landscape of Southern California. The film was made by three digital strangers who found one another online during the pandemic. All three of us, a conservatory musician, a Hollywood composer, and myself met in person for the first time on the day of the shoot! Oh and we hired a Bulgarian strings ensemble for our film!
What’s your earliest memory of film?
One of my earliest memories of film is watching The Shaggy D.A at my aunt’s gloomy house. It’s a lesser-known 1976 Walt Disney production featuring a crime-punishing district attorney-turned-Shaggy-Dog who brings the bad guys to justice in his woof state. I don’t even know how many times I watched that film! I appreciate any entertainer who can draw me into their world.
What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment? Any recommendations?
I really enjoyed Dopesick – a series starring Michael Keaton surrounding the true (and outrageous) events around the Purdue Pharma antics that led to the oxy endemic in the USA. Books: Although I usually read literature, I just finished reading Getting There – a book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe – an inspiring set of millionaire (and billionaire) ‘origin stories’: looking into the minds of some very successful people and how they got there. I can recommend both (money-back guaranteed).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten, one that has affected every aspect of my life, especially my artistic approach, is the precarious impulse to follow the truth, no matter how ugly, cruel, or politically incorrect the results may glean, all the way to the end. Be honest with yourself about what you’re seeing and experiencing even if nobody else will call things by their name – and the truth will set you free.
Which filmmakers are on your radar at the moment?
I’m always eager to eat up anything dished out by David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, or Terrence Malick. But two particular voices whose works I’m hoping to see more often are Philip Barantini and Noah Baumbach – their films are insightful and have a lot of ‘meat on the bone’.
One of your favorite places in the world?
Kyoto (Japan) is such a stand-out place in my memory. Never have I found such a reverence for the old and traditional balanced out by a welcoming attitude towards the new and progressive in one place. I spent a lot of time in the traditional quarters there, surrounded by a bamboo forest, old wooden temples, and perhaps the most polite people I’ve ever met in my life!
What’s next for you, and where can our readers find more of your work?
I am in conversation with several producers, teasing out creative projects with them in between commercial work. My hope is to win funding for my scripts and bring them to life. I am always on the lookout for creative collaborators who want to make their mark. To find more of my work you can follow me on Instagram at: www.instagram.com/claudemorcos or you can visit my site at: www.claudemorcos.com